Monday, October 13, 2008

Petre Ţuţea

Petre Ţuţea (October 6, 1902 - December 3, 1991) was a Romanian philosopher, journalist and economist.
Ţuţea was born in the village of Boteni, Muscel region (now in Argeş County). His father, Petre Bădescu, was a Romanian Orthodox priest and his mother, Ana Ţuţea, was of peasant stock. Ţuţea graduated from the University in Cluj where he also obtained a PhD in Administrative Law.
He moved to Bucharest and in 1932, he founded, together with Petre Pandrea , a leftist newspaper, "Stânga" ("The Left"), that was quickly and forcefully closed by the government. In 1935 Ţuţea and four other writers published a nationalist program of economic and social development, "Manifestul revoluţiei naţionale" ("Manifesto for a National Revolution").

Around the same time he met the influential philosopher Nae Ionescu and wrote for his famous newspaper "Cuvântul" along with Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran, Radu Gyr, Mircea Vulcănescu, Mihail Sebastian and other known writers.
Ţuţea became a sympathizer of the Iron Guard, a right-wing, ultra-nationalist organization. Between 1936 and 1939, he was a director in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in charge of the Office of Economics Publications and Propaganda, then a Director of the research office in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. After the National Legionary State was proclaimed in 1940, he was a member of the Romanian economic delegation to Moscow.
After Romania joined the war, Ţuţea worked as a director in the Ministry of War Economy and after August 23, 1944 became Director of studies in the Ministry of National Economy.

Ţuţea was arrested by the Communist regime in 1949 without a trial, and was sent to re-education at Ocnele Mari. He was released in 1953 and, unable to find work, he lived with friends. Arrested again in 1956, he was tried and sentenced for "Conspiracy against the State" (a standard accusation thrown at intellectuals of all stripes) to 18 years of hard labor, of which he served 8 years in various prisons, ending up in the infamous prison of Aiud.
After the release of all political prisoners in 1964, Petre Ţuţea became known as a socratic type of philosopher. He also started to write books and essays, created an original dramatic form, "Theater as Seminar" and produced a philosophical manifesto, "The Philosophy of Nuances" (1969). Due to censorship very little of his work could be published and virtually nothing appeared after 1972. Under permanent observation, Ţuţea had many of his manuscripts confiscated by the Romanian secret police, the Securitat . In the late 1980s he started working on a massive unfinished project in five volumes, "Man, a Christian Treatise of Anthropology".

After the 1989 Romanian Revolution, Ţuţea was embraced by Romanian intellectuals, receiving frequent requests from journalists and TV crews for interviews while living for one year with a student in theology, Radu Preda. During the last year of his life, Ţuţea was interned in a Christian hospice, "Christiana", where he passed away of old age, without seeing any of his books published.
His most popular book (sold in more than 70,000 copies) is 322 de vorbe memorabile, a collection of aphorisms. Editura HumanitasBucharest, 1997
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