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Extracts From The Book:

Princess Marthe Bibesco
Ana Blandiana
Smaranda Braescu
Madelene “Madi” Cancicov
Nina Cassian
Elena Ceausescu
Ioana Celibidache
Queen Elisabeth of Romania
Princess Gregoire Ghica
Princess Ileana of Romania
Dora D’Istria
Monica Lovinescu
Ileana Malancioiu
Queen Marie of Romania
Dr. Agnes Kelly Murgoci
Mabel Nandris
Countess Anna de Noailles
Ana Novac
Oana Orlea
Ana Pauker
Marta Petreu
Elisabeta Rizea of Nucsoara
Sanda Stolojan
Leontina Vaduva
Anca Visdei
Sabina Wurmbrand

"Blouse Roumaine" - Extracts from the Book
selected and introduced by Constantin Roman.

Princess Marthe Bibesco , née Lahovary (18)

(1885, Bucharest, Romania - Paris, France,1973), Writer, Hostess, Socialite

53. British:
“The British and the French who cry over the fate that befell Austria remind me of myself as a child, when I tore out the petals of a daisy one by one and then wept because the stem looked so ugly.”

68. Chanel, Coco:
“A woman who governs without parliament, for much longer than a minister. A woman who must take 400 decisions a year, whose jurisdiction enforces the law, beyond the frontiers of our country.”

134. Education:
“The education of little Catherine was started by women who had no education .”

153. Eyes:
“I have not got eyes to look, but to be looked at.”

163. Fashion:
“Fashion is what clothes reality and offers dreams.”

184. George VI:
“The King has just broken into my reverie with a message of good will but I refuse to be disturbed.”

205. Hitler, Adolf:
“He looks like a bottle of mustard with a black label.”

272. MacDonald, Ramsey:
“It is a little bit late. I ought to have met him much earlier, when he was going to prison for his opinions, at the time of his persecution. Now that he is Prime Minister all London hostesses compete for his presence.”

277. Marriage:
“She was surprised to have nothing to do: marriage was a misfortune, but not an occupation.”

281. Memoirs:
“I am writing my life, let’s not forget it. So we must make it appear beautiful and curious.”

308. Mussolini, Benito:
“His skin is pale, alabaster. He sizes one up from the corner of the eye, while throwing his head backward all the time. He is small, very small…. and quite square, but the head is magnificent, animal-like with a huge mouth and prominent upper lip. The hand he tendered me was small, soft and warm; he kept mine in his for a moment and kissed it twice.”

381. Power:
“The use of absolute power weighs on the soul, well into the tenth generation and beyond.”

394. Proust, Marcel:

“He reminded me of a fantastic figure in a Hoffman fairy tale of my childhood: the night owl whose apparition in the grandfather clock terrifies little Clara... I sensed something supernatural about him, as if he possessed the keys to a world into which I refused to follow that evening.”
(“Au Bal avec Marcel Proust”)

411. Romania (during World War II):
“One is trapped. We are like mice cohabiting with two hungry cats.”
(Referring to Russia and Germany)

425. Russian friendship (risks of):
“Do not forget Ambassador, that you are in the house of a Prince who, together with his four sons, was beheaded by the Turks for pursuing policies friendly to Russia. That’s where it got him.”
(addressing in1945, at her palace of Mogosoaia, her guest – the Soviet Ambassador, who was extolling the benefits of a Russian-Romanian friendship).

499. Truth:
“To me you have to tell the truth, because I believe everything.”

519. Wilson, Woodrow (American President):

“…like a Presbyterian minister, with a three-piece suit, firmly buttoned up, silver-rimmed pince-nez and a ready-made toothy smile.”

522. Women:
“All unfortunate young women are lyrical poets, even those who do not write verse.”


Marthe Lucie Lahovary was married to Prince Georges Valentin Bibesco and remained known to posterity as Princess Marthe Bibesco. She was in her own right a member of the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Française de Belgique.

A titled, beautiful lady of precocious literary talent, graced with intelligence and vivacity were all the necessary ingredients to be lionized in the turn-of-the-century Paris. Exoticism, for she came from a “far away” country, added to the attraction which, opened the doors to the corridors of power and silenced the critics who might have belittled her achievements based on her aristocratic pretensions. The French Academy awarded her a Literary Prize in 1903 for “Huit Paradis” the novel which drew on the magic of Romanian folk legends and social landscape. Barrès and Montesquiou hailed the young writer as a great talent and the French Press followed suit. Fame was already at her feet at the age of 18 when she took Paris by storm and put Romania on the map.

She used her attributes to her advantage to impress, cultivate, charm or manipulate, all in turn, her eminent contemporaries in the world of letters and politics – great aesthetes and literary lions, or political tigers – she placed them all in her collection, like a systematic entomologist who pins down his prized coleopterans - George V and Clemenceau, Ramsey MacDonald and Mussolini, Paul Valéry, Paul Claudel and Marcel Proust.

After WWII, in Romania of Ana Pauker and Elena Ceausescu, the aristocratic origins and the place of exile in a Western Democracy of Marthe Bibesco meant that her literary, social and political contribution to Romanian culture were ignored in schools and were completely absent in libraries and in bookshops : in the Romanian Encyclopaedic Dictionary of 1972, Bibesco is dispatched in 24 words, whilst in the definitive “History of Romanian Literature”, by Calinescu, published by Unesco in 1987 she is completely left out even in the minute section dealing with “Foreign-language Romanian writers”.


Bibesco, Marthe, “Huit Paradis, Paris, 1903

Bibesco, Marthe, “Isvor”

Bibesco, Marthe, “Au Bal avec Marcel Proust”

Bibesco, Marthe, “Nymphe Europe”

de Diesbach, Ghislain: “La Princesse Bibesco”, Perrin, Paris,1986

Kretzulesco, E.: “Souvenirs de Marthe Princesse Bibesco”, Ecrits de Paris, Paris,1983

Christine Sutherland: “The Enchantress – Marthe Bibesco and her World”, John Murray, London, 1997
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