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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.

Monica Lovinescu (8)

(b. 1923, Romania) living in Paris
Romanian exile writer and broadcaster, anti-Communist fighter

Ceausescu’s brand of Communism:

“When Ceausescu delivered his speech against the invasion of of Czechoslovakia (by the Russians) he accredited the myth of the popular support he enjoyed. His acclaim by the crowds gathered in Palace Square in August 1968 lay at the basis of a suicidal complicity between the hangman and his victim. It is through this very act that we secured for ourselves our ‘originality’ within the communist context. The antagonism between “Them” and “Us”, which characterized the regime of Gheorghiu-Dej without as such circumventing its tragic dimension, dissolved in the derisive. On that tragic Shakespearean stage all characters of prime stature had disappeared leaving behind only the bafoons, whose whose ribaldry were empty of meaning..”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

Destruction of Romanian Élites:
“In Romania, the dissidence was an exception. Our rezistance was present when it did not exist in the other satellite countries and it ended just as it started with our neighbouring countries. We fought and died in the Carpathian mountains as the West was blind and deaf, soaking in its victory and forgetting its hostages. From the prisons where our Élite was destroyed came out in the 1960’s only the shadows of our earlier determination. Three succecive waves of terror – 1948, 1952 and 1958 had drained the collective organism. We caved ina quasy total silence. We sacrificed ourselves for nothing. With this sense of utter uselessness emerged from jails most of the survivors, some of whom, whilst “free”, remained at the beck and call of the Securitate.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

Failed Destinies:
“There are very few indeed those men who contested the May 68 (movement), thus risking excommunication. Jules Monnerot (a name which remained a taboo, long before), on reading Mircea Eliade’s concept on the “terror of history” will have reminded one t the negative prophecy of Ortega Y Gasset abou the “upright barbarians” who one day would invade the western civilization in order to destroy it. Monnerot detected in May 68 the sign that such is about to happen. Much later when he felt even more isolated, after one of the broadcast series of “Theses and anti-Theses”, we stayed a whole afternoon, Virgil and I to discuss in his home to talk to him and his wife, our former colleague who was sacked from the French Broadcasting Corporation, because of the surname she had. He was lucid and bitter. The more the lucidity increased, the more bitter he became. Without despair, without any tears. His was a glacial apocalypse. For him the intellectual France (this was the title of his eassay) had no need to wait for the student riots to show its real face. Somehow we could not adjust to his wavelength of doom he managed to go even beyond our own pessimism. Even retrospectively I do not pretend that he was completely right. However, given a few more such analyses of a comparable harshness one may have been able to breath more normally on the Left Bank of the Seine. (As for ourselves) we wre used to such failed destinies owing to the censorship of Eastern Europe. But for me it was impossible to find an answer to the measure of such great breadth as it was felt in Paris. Amongst the scores of indignation blunted in time or by indifference, this latter sentiment remained as sharp as ever.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

162. Fascists:
“Indeed, (in France) if political life seemed be dominated bythe Right, by contrast, the (French) intellectuals not only positioned themselves to the Left, but they were already mentally ‘sovietised’. Whoever had not tried, – as some of us have indeed – to “open the eyes’ of those intellectuals over here in making them receptive to the tragedy of their fellow-professionals from Eastern Europe ended up being rejected as ‘fascists’ as soon as they declared themselves as anti-Communists (as Jean-Paul Sartres put it: ‘the anti-Communist is a dog’) could not imagine the climate which faced the first (Romanian) exiles (in France).”
(“Memoira Activa, Paris 1947-1952, Repere”, published in Romanian, Bucharest)

176. French “Fellow-Travellers”:
“It is otherwise enough to think of the Kravcenko’s trial (in Paris) – “The Traitors’ International”, or that of David Rousset (the first to compare the Soviet concentration camps with the Nazi camps, a subject still sensitive as late as 1998 and an irritant to the French leftist Intellectuals) to be able to relive the heavy atmosphere (immediately after WWII in France)… Moscow dictated in the intellectual life of France not only through the members of the French Communist Party but also through the intellectual agents, whether unpaid, voluntary or flattered, known otherwise as “fellow-travellers”. The latter had at their call sympathisers of a second degree, strategically placed throughout the mass media, who were assured in the belief that they would keep their position and consolidate their reputation by leading an “anti-fascist” struggle. What would it matter that there were no more fascists? It was enough to equate with such the few lucid minds amongst the French Literate or amongst the political refugees from Russia and from Eastern Europe. Such “visceral anti-Communists’ (an expression revived after the fall of the Berlin Wall) one would reduce to silence through isolation.”
(“Memoira Activa, Paris 1947-1952, Repere”, published in Romanian, Bucharest)

Adrian Paunescu:
“In this chapter on the “clandestines” I forgot to include the most outrightly brazen profeteer of the national (Romanian) sentiment, who would smear himself with empty words, rhetoric and ridicule, with the sole puprpose of securing for himself a golden future. This too is a form of gangsterism: instead breaking a bank one robbs one’s country. It is better value and far more durable, as proven by the evolution of Adrian Paunescu himself.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

Resistance through Culture:
“…it was probably inevitable that (our) resistance was more limited than the one of our neighbours; like it was the case in Poland where the Church remained unstained and the patriotism untouched; in Hungary which was proud of its revolution which made communism shudder; in Prague for example, where many writers expelled from the Writers’ Union sought manial jobs: they would rather become window cleaners rather than publish books stained by adulterous lies. Dignity, memory, justice were all honourable terms so long as the upper echelons were capable of sacrificing their career, sometimes even their freedom, in order to pronounce such words. I should not rekindle the formula, alas all too pertinently apt for the Romanian writers who were ‘orphans of courage”. Never orphans of talent, nor that of refinement. The aesthetics remained the saviour and the justifier of all things. “One resisted through Culture”. Such acknowledgement or excuse was still valid during the post-Communist years.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)

Russia’s Backyard:
“What shall I cling to? Certainly not Ceausescu’s (so-called) “independence” in which I never believed. Then what else? The only country left was Russia: if only something happened in its midts, something whose fire not even the Red Army could extinguish. I was repeating l;ike a litany “on the threshold of the Empire” in Budapest, Warsaw, Berlin where the civil servant of this colonial power could act on a whim, under the eyes of (an acquiescent) West unsble to register the faintest rebuff. As if it were Russia’s backyard. Of course, we are actually russia’s backyard where the master is allowed to do as he pleases. In any case, more than he would allow himself at home. Somehow, somewhere there, in the centre of the Empire, in the heart of Russia, in Moscow, the capital of the Empre, something must set afoot.”
(“La apa Vavilonului 1960-1980”, Vol 2, Ed Humanitas, Bucharest, 2001)


Monica Lovinescu
Having graduatedwith an M Litt from the University of Bucharest, Miss Lovinescu obtained in 1947 a scholarship from the French Government. Only a few months later, after Romania is declared a republic, Monica Lovinescu asks for political asylum and settles in Paris. A close friend of Ionesco, Cioran and Mircea Eliade who come alive in her memoirs published in Bucharest. Throughout her life Lovinescu was active as a journalist and broadcaster, waging an unequal war against the Communist oppression in Romania and elsewhere.

From 1951 to 1975, she is the Romanian correspondent of the French Overseas broadcasting in Romanian language on Literature and Music. From 1967 she presents at Radio Free Europe the cycle “Teze si antiteze la Paris” and the “Actualitatea culturala romaneasca”, which enjoy a huge audience in Romania. These attract the attention of Romania’s secret services as a result of which Monica Lovinescu becomes the target of the Securitate operatives in Paris, is roughed up on the doorstep of her flat and receives threats and hate calls. This leaves Monica Lovinescu shaken but even more determined in waging her crusade with the pen and the microphone against the indomitable Ceausescu, for a long time the “darling of the West”.

Grigore Grigurcu had placed Monica Lovinescu in a special category when he said: “The all-embracing oeuvre which Monica Lovinescu had given to the Romanian Literature represents an alternative to the angle we had perceived our own literature from our home perspective. Here in effect there was no revolution ever having taken place, rather a regime of foreign occupation with all its laden consequences, although of late distorted and more sophisticated. (Monica Lovinescu was) an alternative offered not only by contrast to the official rosy and fake product of our literary output, but also to our home-grown literary criticism, based on aesthetic criteria, which although somewhat non-conforming and protesting was nevertheless limited by censorship and self-regulatory censorship.”

In recognition of her life-long contribution to the Romanian political and Cultural Life, Miss Lovinescu was honoured by President Constantinescu with the Order of the Grand Cross of Romania.

Lovinescu (whose mother had perished in communist prisons, see Jela, 1998, Lovinescu, 1999, pp. 187-195) was at the head of those moved by the basic (and understandable) drive to have communist perpetrators subjected to a Nuremberg-style "Trial of Communism”..


Lovinescu, Monica: În contratimp, 1945;

Lovinescu, Monica: “Unde scurte”, Madrid, 1978;

Lovinescu, Monica: “Memoira Activa, Paris 1947-1952, Repere”,
published in Romanian, Bucharest)

Lovinescu, Monica: Volume: Unde scurte, I (ed. Humanitas, Bucuresti, 1990);

Lovinescu, Monica: Intrevederi cu Mircea Eliade, Eugen Ionescu, Stefan Lupascu si Grigore Cugler (Cartea Romaneasca, Bucuresti, 1992);

Lovinescu, Monica: Seismograme. Unde scurte, II (Humanitas, Bucuresti, 1993);

Lovinescu, Monica: Posteritatea contemporana. Unde scurte, III (Humanitas, Bucuresti, 1994);

Lovinescu, Monica: Est-etice. Unde scurte, IV (Humanitas, Bucuresti, 1994).

Articles in:

East Europe, Kontinent, Preuves, L'Alternative, Les Cahiers de L'Est, Temoignages, La France Catholique etc. and in the Romanian press in exile: Luceafarul, Caiete de Dor, Fiinta Romaneasca, Ethos, Contrapunct, Dialog, Agora, etc.

Translations from Romanian signed under pseudonym:
Monique Saint-Come or Claude Pascal.

Bad Timing, 1945;

The History of the Show (in cooperation), 1965;

Short Waves, 1978

C.-V Gheorghiu, The Twenty-Fifth Hour (with the pseudonym Monique Saint-Come), 1949;

Adriana Georgescu, In the Beginning Was the End (with the pseudonym Claude Pascal), 1951;

M. R. Paraschivescu, Diary of a Heretic (with the pseudonym Claude Jaillet), 1976

Contributor: chapter on the Romanian Theatre in: “Histoire du Spectacle” (Encyclopedie de la Pleiade, Gallimard), 1965.

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