The Reception of Olivia Manning’s The Great Fortune in Romania


  • Cristina Zimbroianu Polytechnic University of Madrid



Manning’s (1908-1980) novel The Great Fortune (1960) is the first Second World War novel of a six-part novel series titled Fortunes of War. Set in Bucharest, Romania, the novel portrays the historical events of the first year of the war (1939-1940) and how these affect Romanian society and the English community. The novel was well-received in England, and in 1987 was adapted to a television serial issued by BBC. In Romania, the response of the critics after the communist regime was rather harsh, accusing Manning of misinterpreting Romanian reality. Moreover, considering that Manning portrays not only the wealth of high society but also the misery and the political conflicts of those times with the fascist Guard in the background, it could be stated that in 1960 when the novel was reviewed by the censorship board, it might not have been positively evaluated. Therefore, this article analyses the reception of The Great Fortune in Romania during and after the Communist regime from a historical perspective focusing on critics and censors’ responses to determine whether censorship influenced the reception of the novel in Romania. To undertake this study the censorship files located at the National Archives in Bucharest, as well as articles guarded in various libraries in Romania, were consulted.


Keywords: Manning, Second World War, Romania, Bucharest, censorship, criticism, history, reception studies