Unanimously banned and condemned, torture has been used in many countries throughout the 20th century. Ruxandra Cesereanu’s essay aims to deepen this subject, showing the unimaginable dimensions that human cruelty can sometimes reach. The Armenian Genocide, the Nazi camps, the Gulag, the Military Juntas in Latin America, the totalitarian regimes in Africa and those in Islamic states are just a few examples of the tortures that man can inflict on his fellow men. From the description of the techniques, the motivations and the moments in which acts of savage violence take place to portraits of torturers and the victim, Ruxandra Cesereanu’s book gives us an overview of the phenomenon of torture, to refresh our collective memory. 

Ruxandra Cesereanu is Professor at the Faculty of Letters (Department of Comparative Literature) in Cluj, member of the staff of the Center for Imagination Studies (Phantasma) and director of the Creative Writing Workshops on poetry, prose and movie scripts. She is well known for producing major research and critical monographs, with several books of non-fiction: Imaginarul violent al romanilor / The Violent Imaginary of the Romanians (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2003; Tracus Arte, 2016); Decembrie 1989. Deconstuctia unei revolutii / December 1989. Deconstruction of a Revolution (Iasi: Polirom, 2004; second edition, 2009); Gulagul in constiinta romaneasca. Literatura si memorialistica inchisorilor si lagarelor comuniste / The Gulag Reflected in Romanian Consciousness. About Literature and Memories of Communist Prisons and Camps (Iasi: Polirom, 2005; Pitesti, Manuscris, 2018); Naravuri romanesti / Romanian Bad Habits (Iasi: Polirom, 2007); GOURMET. Céline, Bulgakov, Cortázar, Rushdie (Cluj: Limes, 2009); Biblioteca stranie / Weird Library (Bucharest: Curtea Veche, 2010, granted the Prize of the Association of General and Comparative Literature in Romania); and Fugarii – Evadari din inchisori si lagare in secolul XX / The Fugitives – Escapes from Prisons and Camps in the Twentieth Century (Iasi, Polirom, 2016, granted the PEN Romania Prize in 2017).