Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj
by Scott McRae
She admires his bizarre and unprecedented narrative structures, his innovative
use of Russian and English, and the utter aplomb with which he writes.
Her interest in Nabokov led to a dissertation that examines his work
in the context of turn- of-the-century Russian and European philosophical
traditions, and she is currently in the process of turning this work into
It was terrible, Dragunoiu said about the government. The
country was corrupt, totalitarian and mired in hardship. You would
have to stand in line for toilet paper.
Nor could she understand the Ontario school system. In Bucharest, she
had been learning trigonometry and political economy (which was
all political propaganda, she added). In Windsor, her fifth-grade
classmates were learning their multiplication tables and had independent
reading sessions. School felt like playtime.
In a sense, school is still a place where she plays. She took an undergraduate
degree out of a love of reading and a masters degree out of a love
of the academic lifestyle.
Now her enthusiasm for teaching keeps her going. I love being at
the front of the classroom.
Descartes believed mind and matter were separate entities and was puzzled
by why they interacted.
Hegel later conflated the two, and proposed that matter was a degraded
form of spirit, a view which had brief currency until Marx turned Hegel
upside down and argued that mind arose from matter. Most intellectuals
now subscribe to Marxs materialist conception.
It is a lot of work for a new professor. Im wedded to my
job, she said with a laugh, then admitted that she does find time
for other activities. I swim. I go tobogganing in my neighbourhood.
She is happy to be living in Montreal and says that she admires its diversity
and cosmopolitan nature. I like the culture of immigrants that we
all are committed to. We are absorbing [immigrants], but not cleansing
them [of their history and culture]. This is an ideal environment
in which to nurture students: They wont feel alienated.
It is also an ideal place for her to nurture both her professional and academic goals. I love it here.