Humor as a Survival Technique during Communism in Romania

  • Miruna Iacob Transilvania University of Brașov Bulevardul Eroilor 29, Brașov 500036
Keywords: humour, subversion, totalitarianism, literature, context


Humour is generally considered a universal feature, but it is also a context-related notion and it may involve the specificity of a certain culture. The present paper attempts to explore the ethics of humor and its subversive nature perceived as a survival technique during the communist regime in Romania, with an emphasis on Ioan Groșan’s short story, The Island. Being in a constant battle with censorship, humour often proves to be a form of dissidence. Critical laughter functions as a corrective, undermining political principles and denouncing their inflexibility aimed at achieving a progressive social degradation. Therefore, a theoretical re-evaluation of the relationship between context and humor will reveal that the latter concept – with its forms and variations – becomes the escape from the gangrenous tissues of totalitarian societies.


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