Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

Constantin ROMAN: Memoirs “Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures” (extract)

January 6th, 2017 · Books, Diary, Education, History, International Media, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, Reviews, Science, Short Stories & Cameos

Constantin ROMAN, Photo taken in Bucharest, after the Baccalaureate

Constantin ROMAN, Photo taken in Bucharest, after the Master’s Degree in Geophysics

Constantin ROMAN: extract din “Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures”, Institute of Physics Press, Brostol & Philadelphia, 2000 – traducere în limba Română

 

CRITERII DE DISCRIMINARE.

 

Prima tentativă de a obţine un paşaport a fost la vârsta de 14 ani, la eliberarea primului meu buletin de identitate, când am crezut că în mod automat eram îndreptăţit să obţin un document de călătorie în străinatate. Pentru că aveam un străbunic ceh, eram nerăbdător sa descopăr familia îndepărtată din Cehoslovacia.   Aşa m-am dus la sediul central al Miliţiei Capitalei de pe Calea Victoriei şi m-am trezit într-o încăpere cu o mulţime de oameni în vârstă cu feţe deprimate, dorind sa emigreze în Israel sau America: fiind aşa tânăr am atras imediat atenţia ofiţerului de serviciu, care m-a întrebat ce căutăm acolo. Am spus ca doream un paşaport sa călătoresc la Praga.   “Mergi de unul singur?”   Pentru a da o pondere mai mare cererii mele, i-am spus că mergeam însoţit de tatăl meu, cu toate ca el habar nu avea de iniţiativa mea. “Bine, atunci roagă-l pe tatăl tău să vină el aici.” Aceasta se întâmpla în 1955, iar eu eram încă un adolescent şi aveam impresia că lumea se prăbuşea în jurul meu. M-am întors acasă năpădit de gânduri sumbre. Mi-am analizat rapid, din interstiţiile memoriei, virtuţile eventuale ale originii noastre sociale, pentru ca să pot avea o ideie de cum m-aş fi putut bucura de libertatea de a călători în străinătate, atâta timp cât paşaportul era acordat doar pe criterii de apartenenţă la o anumită clasă socială şi politică privilegiată: era evident că în familia noastră nu ne-am născut “ilegalişti”. Departe de a aparţine categoriei privilegiate de comunişti nomenclaturişti, familia noastră nu dorea să se compromită luând din mers trenul communist, ba chiar dimpotrivă, după ce ne pierdusem prin expropriere şi naţionalizare toate economiile şi bunurile mobile şi imobile, ajunsesem să fim marginalizaţi. Şansa noastră de supravieţuire nu era foarte bună, să nu mai vorbim de luxul de a fi obţinut un paşaport.

 

Eugenia Roman, mama mea, la 16 ani. Dupa plecarea mea in Anglia Ceausescu le-a interzis parintilor un pasaport pana cand Margaret Thatcher l-a obligat sa onoreze semnatura lui pe Tratatul dela Helsinki

Eugenia Roman, mama mea, la 16 ani. Dupa plecarea mea in Anglia Ceausescu le-a interzis parintilor un pasaport pana cand Margaret Thatcher l-a obligat sa onoreze semnatura lui pe Tratatul dela Helsinki

Mama mea Eugenia (Jeni) Velescu s-a născut în Bucureşti, în 1912 şi provenea dintr-o familie de intelectuali proeminenţi. Ea era cea mai tânără fiică a lui George Velescu şi Ana Zeliska. Tatăl ei, George, licenţiat în Drept şi Farmacie la Universitatea din Bucureşti şi-a ales să profeseze Farmacia, la sfaturile Prea-Fericitului Patriarh Miron Cristea, capul Bisericii Ortodoxe Romane, cu care era prieten. Bunicul meu şi-a început cariera la Farmacia Bruss, din Calea Victoriei, vis-a-vis de Cercul Militar, o clădire de mult dispărută. Bruss, de origine germană era furnizorul de produse farmaceutice a Majestatii Sale Regele Carol I al României. Bunicul adesea prepara reţete pentru Rege, la cererea Şambelanului Curţii, carea venea intotdeauna spunând:

George VELESCU, Presedintele Farmacistilor din Romania (Bunicul matern)

George VELESCU, Presedintele Farmacistilor din Romania (Bunicul matern)reţete pentru Rege, la cererea Şambelanului Curţii, carea venea intotdeauna spunând:

“Tinere, să iei cea mai mare seamă! Această reţetă este pentru o persoană foarte importantă!”  

Bunicul, bineînţeles, ştia, în felul acesta, că reţeta era pentru Rege, care l-a decorat, în 1906, pentru serviciile sale. Ulterior, bunicul meu a practicat cu succes farmacia, în cele din urmă ajungând să fie renumit şi sa devină Preşedintele Asociaţiei Farmaciştilor din România, editor al monografiei “Pharmacopaea Română” şi a revistei “Curierului Farmaceutic” din Bucureşti, devenind de asemenea şi unicul distribuitor al produselor farmaceutice Merck din România. Bunica maternă, Ana, se trăgea dintr-o familie Cehă din Bohemia din partea tatălui şi dintr-o familie din Secuime din partea mamei. Această ramură provenea din mica nobilime a Imperiului Hapsburgic, închistată de secole de-a randul pe o scară feudală bine definită, cu titluri si un mod rigid de adresare, care îi defineau précis pozitia ierarhică în societatea transilvană.   Născută la Bucureşti, unde a fost educată la şcoala catolică de la

Ana Velescu (nee Zeliska, 1883-1970), my maternal grandmother ca 1930

Ana Velescu (nee Zeliska, 1883-1970), my maternal grandmother ca 1930

biserica Bărăţia, bunica Ana, sau Grossnutter, asa cum o stiam, vorbea curent trei limbi străine, Franceza, Germana şi Ungara, ea fiind una dintre primele femei din România absolvente (la vioara şi pian) a Conservatorului de Muzică din Bucureşti. In timpul primului război mondial şi-a luat licenţa în Farmacie, ca să poată prelua afacerea soţului ei în timpul în care el era ofiter activ pe front, în Moldova. Fiind copil, îmi amintesc, ca şi cum ar fi fost ieri, impresionanta colecţie de artă şi biblioteca cu cărţi de artă şi biografii politice, în mai multe limbi din casa bunicilor, iar până la venirea comuniştilor, când proprietăţile familiei au fost expropriate, mă duceam la recitalurile de muzică de cameră a bunicii Ana, care se ţineau în fiecare duminică după amiază la casa ei din Bucureşti, din cartierul Mitropoliei. Personalitatea Anei a avut cea mai mare influentă asupra educaţiei mele, întâi pentru că am prins gustul limbilor străine şi de asemenea mi-a deschis interesul pentru artă şi ştiinţe.

Spre deosebire de părinţii ei, Mama mea nu a fost atrasă de partea academică, dar a fost educată să converseze în câteva limbi

Valeriu ROMAN - the author's Father

Valeriu ROMAN – the author’s Father

Tatăl meu, Valeriu Livovschi Roman, s-a născut în Bucureşti în 1906, ca cel mai mare fiu al lui Vicentiu Livovschi Roman, de profesie farmacist şi a Ştefaniei Burada, singura fiică a Preotului Constantin Burada. Bunicul meu Vicentiu provenea dintr-o familie care a servit Biserica Ortodoxa Română timp de şapte generaţii şi avea o puternică tradiţie muzicală, printre care se numără şi un compozitorul de muzică liturgică rusească si dirijor al corului dela Catedrala Ţarului din St. Petersburg. Compozitiile liturgice ale lui Grigory Lvovski continua si azi să se audă în bisericile ortodoxe. Pe linia bunicii paterne din neamul Burada au fost multi strămoşi preoţi ortodoxi, binefăcători şi ctitori de biserici şi şcoli în secolul al 19-lea, deşi printre ei au fost şi compozitori, judecători, antropologi şi polimati, printre care cel mai proeminent rămane Theodor T. Burada.   Tatăl meu Valeriu şi-a luat licenţa în chimie industrială, la Universitatea din Bucureşti în 1930 şi a început cariera în laboratoarele de chimie, a companiei de petrol Anglo-Romane Phoenix, ce avea câmpuri petroliere in valea Pahovei, o rafinărie la Ploieşti şi doua staţii de export a petrolului, la Constanta şi la Giurgiu.   Tata a fost curând promovat în funcţia de Director executiv, responsabil cu exportul de petrol, mai întâi la terminalul Companiei, de la Constanta, şi din 1937 la Giurgiu, unde m-am născut în 1941.   Când terminalul din Giurgiu a fost bombardat în 1941, tatăl meu s-a transferat la sediul central din Bucureşti, unde a devenit directorul serviciului de distribuţie şi marketing, până la naţionalizarea companiei, de către comunişti, în 1948, când tatăl meu a fost acuzat de “colabore” cu britanicii. A scăpat de închisorile comuniste numai datorita sprijinului activ al muncitorilor companiei, fiind o persoană foarte populară în rândul lor, aceştia pledând pentru absolvirea lui de presupusa vină sa “colaborator” cu executivul britanic al companiei…. In urma acestor acuzaţii tata a fost concediat şi îmi amintesc, ca până să îşi găsească un nou servici, pentru o perioadă de trei luni, copil fiind, doar de şase ani, căram în fiecare zi, cu sufertaşul, mâncarea gătită de bunica mea, la ea acasă, pentru noi, căci familia nu avea alte resurse de subsistentă, toate economiile si veniturile dela bunurile imobiliare fusesera nationalizate de regimul communist, impus de armata de ocupatie sovietica. După mai mulţi ani ca dispecer în Ministerul Chimiei, funcţie în care vizita frecvent combinatul chimic dela Târnăveni şi uzina “Taninul” din Orăştie, tata şi-a încheiat cariera ca Redactor la Editura Tehnică, din Bucureşti, unde a ieşit la pensie în 1966. Nefiind membru al partidului Comunist, numele lui nu avea voie sa apară nici măcar pe coperta cărţilor ce le edita şi şi-a terminat cariera într-o relativă obscuritate.   Totuşi, în ciuda cestei situaţii neprielnice a avut mai multe invenţii care le-a patentat, în domeniul catalizei clorurii de sodiu, în care a scris şi o carte, devenita o referinţă clasică, într-o specialitate foarte restransă.

Între timp situaţia politică şi socială din Europa Centrala şi de Est nu avea să se îmbunătăţească. Cu toate ca după moartea lui Stalin, în 1953, o oarecare destindere a avut loc, perioada în care membrii Comitetului Central al Partidului comunist care erau în guvern şi care fuseseră ‘educaţi’ la Moscova au fost îndepărtaţi – toate nume de tristă amintire pentru istoria noastră – Teohari Georgescu, Vasile Luca şi mai ales Ana Pauker, această Dolores Ibaruri a suferinţelor româneşti. Destinderea politică a fost de scurtă durată, datorita revoluţiei din Ungaria, din 1956, care a cauzat o recrudescenţă împotriva clasei intelectuale şi a “rămăşiţelor burghezo-mosieresti”. Bineînţeles, că şi noi făceam parte din această “rămăşiţă” arheologică…

Pentru o clipă, în 1956, când Ungurii s-au răsculat împotriva cizmei sovietice şi a ‘uneltelor’ ei comuniste (pentru a folosi jargonul Marxist), am sperat că vom fi fost şi noi eliberaţi de aceasta oprimare, aşa ca am lăsat-o mai uşor cu studiul limbii ruse, care era obligatoriu la scoală şi aproape că am repetat clasa a cincea. De altfel nu aveam note bune decât la subiectele ale căror profesori îmi plăceau, iar fizica şi geologia nu figurau pe această listă. Geologia era predată de o activistă de partid, care politiza orele, într-un limbaj de lemn. Ea ne-a dezvăluit, literalmente, cum “capitalişti au exploatat zăcămintele de petrol atât de repede încât nu le-au dat posibilitatea zăcămintelor de ţiţei să se regenereze….” “Când?” am întrebat-o eu – “in timpul vieţii noastre?” Nu cred ca înţelesese calamburul, căci altfel aşi fi fost disciplinat.

Bucharest School of architecture

Bucharest School of architecture

La vârsta de 15 ani, când devenisem critic asupra tuturor valorilor şi în special al preceptelor comuniste nu puteam să iau în serios geologia predată de o activistă de Partid semidoctă. La examenul de baccalaureat (sau de ‘maturitate”, cum se chema atunci) am trecut geologia la limită.   Nici nu mă interesa, pentru că, incă de la vârsta de şapte ani, aveam ideia precisă să devin arhitect, pentru care, aşa consideram eu, geologia nu avea pondere. Revoluţia Ungară din 1956 avea să aibă un efect negativ asupra selecţiei candidaţilor dela Şcoala de Arhitectură, care a început să aplice strict criterii bazate pe origina socială: în anii ’50 se mai vorbea de origine “nesănătoasă”, dar pe la sfârşitul anilor ’60, cum “construirea socialismului făcuse progrese simţitoare” (oh, yes!) acum categorisirea era doar în trei clase sociale, dintre care doar două erau recunoscute ca atare, a treia fiind doar o “pătură”: clasa muncitoare, ţăranii şi pătura intelectuală. Ori si cum fusesem “promovat” fără să-mi fi schimbat genealogia, dela “rămăşiţă”, la “clasă de origine

Bucharest Exam Test - School of Achitecture

Bucharest Exam Test – School of Achitecture

nesănătoasă”, iar acum de-a dreptul “pătură” pentru că tatăl meu, lucrând cu creierul, mai degrabă decât cu muşchii, era, deci, un intelectual (citeşte pătură). Bine, bine, dar din aceiaşi categorie făceau parte şi copiii “grangurilor” din Comitetul Central al Partidului Comunist, care tot “pătură” se voiau, după ce se cocoţaseră în copacul nomenklaturistilor, ca scroafa din poveste. Ori, din cele 60 de locuri dela Şcoala de Arhitectură, 20%, alocate pentru săraca “pătură”, reprezentau doar 12 locuri, pentru care concurenţa era acerbă, cu sute de candidaţi din toată ţara. Examenele de desen artistic şi desen tehnic erau eliminatorii si precedau faza a doua cu examenele de fizică şi matematică. Nota la desen era definită bineinteles de criterii politice, bazate pe origina socială, cu o pondere în funcţie de apartenenţa părinţilor la partidul comunist, proprietăţile naţionalizate şi altele, care nu îmi măreau deloc şansele, ba dimpotrivă Ca să echilibrez acest dezavantaj, luam lecţii particulare de fizică şi matematică în timpul săptămânii şi cinci ore de desen, în fiecare duminică. Totul a fost în zadar, căci nu aveam, prin definiţie, nici o şansă realistă de a trece de proba eliminatorie la desen, care fiind subiectivă, putea fi manipulată în funcţie de prejudecăţiile sau constrângerile politice ale exeminatorilor şi nu pe criterii obiective.

Pentru tatăl meu situaţia era clară şi atunci a inisistat să accept realitatea, ori cât de dureroasă ar fi fost ea şi să mă îndrept spre o carieră ştiinţifică: aici cel puţin rezultatele examenelor erau inechivoce şi nu puteau fi interpretate în funcţie de criterii politice. In acelasi context trebuie să nu uităm că in ponderea de admitere, un factor preponderent era si un parametru bazat pe o evaluare socio-politică a candidatului, special definită ca să minimalizeze admiterea in Universităţi a candidaţilor proveniţi din clasa intelectuală ne-integrată in randurile Partidului Comunist Român. Era ironic să mă gândesc că deşi la baccalaureat aveam rezultate slabe (chiar la limită) la fizică şi geologie, care nu ma interesau, în anul următor aveam să mă prepar pentru examenul de admitere la geofizică, la Facultatea de Geogie, a Institutului de Petrol şi Gaze din Bucureşti. Aici erau mai puţini candidaţi decât la Arhitectură, doar 5,5 pe un loc, dar cum soluţiile ecuaţiiilor erau unice, aici puteam demonstra în mod inechivoc cunostiinţele mele la Fizică şi Matematică. Tatăl meu a răsuflat uşurat să mă vadă admis la intrarea în facultate, într-o perioadă în care educaţia devenise un simbol existenţialist al supravieţiuirii, iar familia pierduse toate economiile şi investiţiile. Mai mult decât atâta, în clasa noastră socială, ca şi în toate familiile de intelectuali din Europa Centrală şi de Răsărit, ajunsesem la “sapă de lemn” si deci educaţia devenise un simbol al rezistenţei anticomuniste…

Aşa am ajuns să fiu geofizician.

 

Constantin Roman: "Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures"

Constantin Roman: “Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures”

Notă de Subsol: Extras din volumul publicat în limba engleză sub titlul:

“Continental Drift – Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures” apărut iniţial în limba engleză, la Institute of Physics, Bristol & Philadelphia, 2000,

ISBN-13: 978-0750306867

ISBN-10: 0750306866

 

→ No CommentsTags:·······················

“Blouse Roumaine”: Henriette-Yvonne Stahl (Mrs. Petru Dumitriu), (1900-1984), Romania, “Prisoner of Conscience”

January 4th, 2017 · Books, Communist Prisons, Diary, Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Reviews, Translations

Henriette Yvonne STAHL

Henriette Yvonne STAHL

Henriette-Yvonne Stahl (Mrs. Petru Dumitriu)

(b. 9 Jan. 1900, St. Avald, Lorraine, France –d. Bucharest, 25 May, 1984)

Novelist, short story writer, translator, political prisoner, Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience”

 

Petru Dimitriu

Petru Dumitriu

Petru Dumitriu:

During my prison days it was suggested – and naturally at that time I had to sign a statement to   this effect – that I must have ghostwritten Petru Dumitriu’s books such as ‘Family Chronicle’ ‘Road without dust’. ‘The Tempest birds’ and so forth. Well, it is plainly obvious that whatever one is made to sign (under duress) in prison has absolutely no truthful value. It is not me who wrote Petru Dumitriu’s books, although I do acknowledge that I had a strong influence on his literary début; in fact, the denouement and the spirit of ‘Family Chronicle’ is greatly due to me, but its authenticity and strength are the exclusive brand of Petru Dumitriu.

(Henriette-Yvonne Stahl, About the quality of illusion)

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Pitesti Political Prison (Romania) - Painting (detail)

Pitesti Political Prison (Romania) – Painting (detail)

Henriette-Yvonne Stahl earned the unlikely international reputation of being the first personage of a group of three whose case was championed by the newly-founded Amnesty International to be freed as a prisoner of conscience. The other two prisoners were a Pakistani professor and the renowned Angolan communist activist Dr. Agostinho Neto (1922-1979).

Why should Miss Stahl share such peculiar attention? Simply because in communist Romania, under Gheorghiu-Dej, the witch hunt against the intellectual élite was at its paroxysm and as a result some resounding political public trials took place. Henriette-Yvonne Stahl, as a close associate of Bellu Zilber, was indirectly implicated in the Pàtràscanu trial. Besides having been born to a family with French origins on her maternal side and Bavarian roots on her father’s side, this made Miss Stahl an excellent material in the hands of the communist repressive régime.

Henriette-Yvonne’s paternal grandfather was closely associated with Lord Byron in his endeavour for the independence of

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Greece. He later settled in Bucharest, where he became a naturalised Romanian. What triggered the persecution and imprisonment of Miss Stahl was the defection to West Germany of her close friend and former husband, the writer Petru Dumitriu (1923-2003), in 1960. The latter was her young protégé, for whom Stahl developed a maternal instinct, took him under her wing and eventually married him : an unlikely meeting of minds, but not of interests.

She first met the young, up-and-coming talent when she was on a jury that awarded Petru Dumitriu the ‘Filip Aderca’ Literary Prize for the best short novel published in 1945. His was a double first, for not only did he win the coveted prize, but he also swept the lady of the jury off her feet. Their marriage lasted until 1956, not a bad record considering that Dumitriu was 24 years her junior. This union marked Dumitriu’s seminal output as a writer who zealously adopted the official brand of socialist realism in literature. Among his most acclaimed social novels with an aggressive ideological message were Bijuterii de familie (Family Jewels, 1949), Drum fàrà pulbere (Road without Dust, 1951) and Cronicà de familie (Family Chronicle, 1955). These books established Dumitriu as a reliable bulwark of the communist propaganda machine and from behind the scenes Stahl helped him in this direction. Stahl’s memoirs, published posthumously in 1996, reveal that she was in fact portrayed in Dumitriu’s writings as Isabela Giurgea-Roscanu, who falls madly in love with Dimitrie Cozianu, two fictional characters in her ex-husband’s novel Family Chronicle.

Istoria Literaturii Romane

Istoria Literaturii Romane

The twist in Miss Stahl’s life, a talented writer in her own right, came when Dumitriu, who had been so close to the communist régime’s repressive machine, for a good decade decided nevertheless to defect. The Romanian Communist Party fetlt so ulcerated by his defection that it unleashed unprecedented reprisals against all members of the family. They were committed variously to forced domicile, loss of employment, incarceration in psychiatric asylums and, in the case of his infant son, sent to an orphanage (q.v. Arnàutoiu), with a ‘special tutor assigned to him (q.v Doina Jela, Cartea neagrà a Securitàtii). Although divorced from Dumitriu four years previously, Henriette-Yvonne Stahl was also implicated and imprisoned some 8 months after her ex-husband’s defection. Once behind bars she was made to sign, a statement under duress, declaring that in fact she was the real author of Dumitriu’s novels’: quite an explosive statement presenting the defector as a complete and utter fraud. This statement was published in ‘Glasul Patriei’ (Fatherland’s Voice, oh, yes!), in a vituperative article entitled ‘Petru Dumitriu – a Melodramatic Crook’, intended for the readership of the Romanian exiles. In her subsequent memoirs, published fourty years after the event, Stahl retracted the statement (q.v. quotation on Petru Dumitriu), but admits the seminal influence she had on his work.

In retrospect, one may well ask why a nice lady’ like Henriette-Yvonne would become involved with a controversial character

Le Temoin de l'eternite

Le Temoin de l’eternite

like Petru Dumitriu. Hers was a household name from a reputable family and an established writer, with all the qualities that pre-war Romania could still preserve during the sordid years of ‘proletcultism’ (a tennet of socialist realism which imposed the cult of the proletariat in all). By contrast to Stahl, Dumitriu was an unknown quantity, a rough diamond from the provinces, the young-man-in-a-hurry, ready to climb the greasy pole of the communist political establishment. This may not be the place to discuss this fatal attraction’, which the fragrant 45 year-old Stahl had for the handsome 22 year-old muscle. However, beyond this implied innuendo, which reads like the plot in one of Stahl’s own novels, there was a deeper raison d’être in this unlikely marriage: Stahl came from a has-been social class, threatened with extinction under the dictum of dictatorship. This was a handicap impossible to circumvent and one which most certainly would have curtailed her literary career, indeed her very survival, considering many of her generation (q.v. Cotovu, Georgeta Cancicov and even Florenta Albu). By contrast, Dumitriu was of the new promising generation (generatia de maine), free of social or political blemishes, untainted by the past and dedicated fervently, if over-zealously, to the new cause. Better still, Dumitriu soon became the darling of the communist party and his books represented in the Romanian Stalinist literature of the 1950’s what Das Kapital represented for the Marxist staple diet. Stahl would not have been good material for such conversion: she would not have been credible. Still she was too intelligent and sophisticated not to see the advantage of marrying the young Dumitriu. Theirs was an indomitable union; they became untouchable. The fairy tale, if there ever was one, lasted just over a decade and the fall from grace was terrible and probably very dourly experienced by both partners. Once in the Promised Land of the West, Dumitriu struggled to maintain his place among the plethora of writers, in a country very different from his own: he later left Germany to settle in France. It is hardly surprising that in the West, his fellow exiles who suffered under communism would have nothing to do with him. His purgatory was long and painful, but eventually he managed to rescue his five year-old son from the clutches of the Kafkaesque orphanage in Romania (q.v. Arnautoiu, for a similar practice).

On the other hand, for Stahl, the eight months spent in the communist jail left an indelible mark, physically and psychologically, even though she has carried this burden with dignity. Hers was an error of judgement, for which she paid dearly – the price of an eleven-year honeymoon with a young husband and, implicitly, with the communist régime. Perhaps the key to such a judgement can be found in one of Stahl’s own novels, The Pontiff, (1972):

                            We are searching for the Absolute in Infinity. We are searching for permanence, eternity, perfection in  something which is amazingly transient.

In addition to her fiction writing, Stahl was prodigiously active as a translator from English (Galsworthy, Brontë, Tagore), from French (Marcel Brion, Eugène Sue), Russian (Tourgueneff) and Japanese (Shikibuku Murasaki). Stahl not only translated other authors from French, but she also translated her own books and she wrote Le témoin de l’éternité directly in French.

Henriette-Yvonne Stahl is given a half page in George Càlinescu’s History of Romanian Literature, which is no mean achievement for a contemporary female writer. However, her novels and short stories are belittled as feminist, because they are reduced to being considered discreetly based on the problem of woman’s happiness’. Elsewhere she is indicted by Càlinescu for being ‘too theatrical’ and for professing an ‘exaggerated feminity’ (q.v. Càlinescu, p.631). Zaciu et al (p. 321) sums up the philosophy of Stahl’s work as a kind of treatise of perfect happiness, in Romanian fashion. Certainly Stahl’s own brand of happiness, as detailed in her memoirs, took a further 12 years after her death to reach the Romanian public. That was made possible only because of the collapse of communism when more candid and truthful statements could appear in print.

*  *  *  *  *

 

Translation Credits:

Brion, Marcel, Laurentiu Magnificul, Bucharest, 1943

Brontë, La ràscruce de vânturi, Bucharest, 1959, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1978

Galsworthy, Forsyth Saga, Bucharest, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1969, 1972

Galsworthy, Comedia umanà, 1971

Murasaki, Shibuku, Genji, 1969

Sue, Eugène, Misterele Parisului, Bucharest, 1942

Tagore, Rabindranath, Gora, 1965

Turgueneff, Opere, IX, Buharest, 1958

 

Primary Sources:

Stahl, Henriette-Yvonne, Voica, Bucharest, 1929, 1957, 1966, 1972, 1973

—, Màtusa Matilda, (Aunt Matilda), Bucharest, 1931, 1967

—, Steaua robilor (The Slave’s Star), Bucharest, 1934, 1979

—, Într-o zi si noapte (In a night and a day), Bucharest, 1942, 1971

—, Marea bucurie (The great happiness), Bucharest, 1946, 1947, 1970, 1974

—, Fratele meu omul (My fellow brother), Bucharest, 1965, 1973, 1989

—, Nu mà càlca pe umbrà (Don’t cross my shadow). Bucharest, 1968, 1969

—, Orizont linie severà, (Horizon strict line), Bucharest, 1970

, Pontiful, (The Pontiff), Bucharest, 1972

—, Lena fata lui Anghel Màrgàrit (Lena, Margarit’s daughter), Bucharest, 1977

—, Drum de fier (Railways), Bucharest, 1981

—, Între zi si noapte (Between day and night), Bucharest, 1988

—, Despre realitatea Iluziei, (On the reality of Illusions), Memoirs, Bucharest, 1996

—, Petru Dumitriu – a melodramatic crook, Glasul Patriei

—, Martorul Eternitàtii

 

Books written in French:

Stahl, Henriette-Yvonne, Le témoin de l’éternité, Paris, 1975

 

Secondary Sources:

Càlinescu, George. History of Romanian literature, Ed Unesco, Paris, 1987

Lovinescu, Eugen, Istoria literaturii Române contemporane, 1900-1937, Bucharest, 1937

Zaciu, Mircea et al., Dictionarul Scriitorilor Români, Vol 4 (R-Z), p. 319-322, Editura Albatros, Bucharest, 2002

 

URLs:

 "Blouse Roumaine - the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women"

“Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women”

Constantin ROMAN: Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women:

 

http://www.blouseroumaine.com/buy-the-book/index.html

 

→ No CommentsTags:·······················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (407), Anonymous, ENGLAND: “Epitaf pe o lespede de mormânt”

December 30th, 2016 · Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (407), Anonymous, ENGLAND: “Epitaf pe o lespede de mormânt”

 IF

EPITAF PE O LESPEDE DE MORMÂNT

Am plâns şi-am râs, ca nou născut:
Timpu-a ‘nceput.
Ca tânăr am iubit în vers –
Timpul a mers.
Când om în fire-am devenit –
Timpu-a fugit.
Când bătrâneţea s-arătat –
Timpu-a zburat.
Mergând prin viaţa ce-am avut –
Timpu-a trecut.
Eu Ţie, sufletu-mi închin –
AMIN!

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin Roman, Londra 1997

© copyright Constantin Roman, London, 2016

 

* * * * *

Constantin ROMAN

Constantin ROMAN

  SHORT BIO: Born in Romania where he was trained as a scientist and linguist. Educated at the University of Cambridge, as a Scholar at Peterhouse. For a number of years Constantin ROMAN lived in France, Norway, Holland and Indonesia  and traveled extensively, as guest speaker to Academia and Industry. He published articles in scientific journals (“Nature”, “New Scientist”, etc.), newspapers and magazines (“The Times”, “Cambridge Review”, “Encounter”, “Revista Monumentelor Istorice”, “Manuscriptum”, “Magazin Istoric”) on a variety of subjects relating to History of Art, Architecture, Conservation, Poetry and Earth Sciences (Seismology and Petroleum Geology). On the latter subject he successfully produced limited editions of technical monographs, which were bought by clients world-wide. Constantin lives in London, where he contrives to indulge in serendipity and esoterism.

→ No CommentsTags:······················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (405 – 406), Florenta ALBU (1934 – 2003), ROMANIA: “Gauche-droite”, “Le chant de Bucarest”

December 29th, 2016 · Books, Famous People, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (405 – 406), Florenta ALBU (1934 – 2003), ROMANIA: “Gauche-droite”, “Le chant de Bucarest”

 

Gauche-droite

Florenta ALBU (1934 – 2003)

 

Nager dans la boue

Nous nageons dans cette tristesse historique qui est nôtre

Et cette peur

Nous crie dessus

De toutes parts

Et de devant nous

Dans un rythme interminable – ce fou, continu

Gauche-droite-gauche

 

Pendant que nous – parmi les anciens et parmi les nouveaux

Nous, lâches traîtreusement épuisés

Creux jusqu’aux oreilles, posant

Des questions assourdissantes

Sur nous-mêmes, deux par deux

Allant de l’avant d’une marche hésitante

Gauche-droite-gauche !

 

Qu’est ce qui peut bien se trouver devant nous

Qu’est- ce qui peut bien se trouver derrière nous

Combien la route est-elle plus longue jusque-là

 

Cette marche dans la boue

Une peur historique encore et encore en criant

Gauche – droite – gauche

 

(A partir de la traduction anglaise de Constantin Roman, poème tiré de l’anthologie ‘Effet de serre’, 1987)

* * * * *

 

Le chant de Bucarest

Florenta ALBU (1934 – 2003)

 

Ville de places vides, détruites

Trois Rois mages bohémiens marchent au milieu de rien

Portant tout son poids de l’étoile lumineuse

Aux fenêtres des porches des maisons

Au vide.

 

Ville de places vides

Enveloppée dans un linceul de treuillages et de boue

le chant de l’aurore

aux portes de l’Orient

un chant de l’aurore

 

Oh nos rêves tombaient en ruine !

Ville vide de treuillages et de boue

A travers la boue, à travers la poussière

D’un monde

Désolé

Trois petits bohémiens chantent

Les chants des rois mages.

 

Allez-y Arlequins

Chants d’Arlequins

Alors que les portes sont grandes ouvertes

Sur l’âme du vide…

 

(A partir de la traduction anglaise de Constantin Romane, juillet 2003, poème extrait de l’anthologie Aurolac, 1996).

* * * * *

Oana Orlea Cantacuzino

Oana Orlea Cantacuzino

Oana Orléa, à propos de Florenta Albu :

Florenta Albu, qui nous a quittés récemment, mérite bien d’être mentionnée dans cette anthologie. C’est une femme remarquable, entre autres choses, par le milieu social dont elle est issue : elle vient en effet d’une famille de paysans, petits propriétaires terriens, (‘Tarani mijlocasi’), qui furent taxés de ‘koulaks’ par les communistes. Cela affecta de manière très négative le cours de la vie de Florenta, à un point tel qu’il est impossible de l’imaginer pour un esprit de l’Europe de l’Ouest. L’accès à une formation universitaire lui a été refusé, et à la place, elle a été obligée d’intégrer l’ Universitatea Populara[1]. En serrant les dents, elle commença sa carrière littéraire comme jeune reporter sur les sites de constructions socialistes.

Son arrivée dans le domaine de cette ‘Blouse roumaine’, loin de l’idée de l’auteur de passer pour un provocateur, ce qui après tout n’est pas la question principale, va rendre l’ouvrage plus représentatif. Car son cas est effectivement avant tout emblématique de l’immense capacité de destruction du régime communiste, aussi bien pour les individus que pour la nation en son entier.

Quant à moi, je suis aujourd’hui témoin de l’amnésie préprogrammée qui s’étend sur des décennies de communisme. Il est encore plus grave de constater que l’Est comme l’Ouest, sont tous les deux occupés, chacun à leur manière, à effacer le passé avec diligence.

(Oana Orléa, correspondance personnelle avec Constantin ROMAN, mai 2003).

 

"Blouse Romaine - The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women"

“Blouse Romaine – The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women” *)

 

 

Biographie

Née dans un petit village de la basse plaine du Danube, où ses parents sont les propriétaires de quelques arpents de terre et de têtes de bétail, Florenta Albu est victime de discrimination de la part du régime communiste, pour appartenance à la classe sociale des ‘koulaks’. Les biens de sa famille, terre et troupeaux, sont intégrés à un kolkhoze, et Florenta se voit interdire l’accès à une éducation supérieure. A la place, elle accepte un poste de reporter pour la presse communiste où elle écrit de ternes histoires sur les ‘réalisations’ du socialisme. Son travail l’emmène, bloc note à la main, à visiter des sites de construction d’immeubles et à rapporter « l’enthousiasme » des travailleurs à construire une nouvelle société. Parallèlement, Florenta intègre le seul parcours scolaire ouvert aux enfants des ‘koulaks’ qui souhaitent atteindre un meilleur niveau d’éducation. Il s’agit de l ‘Université populaire. Elle en sort avec un diplôme de philologie roumaine et française. Son obstination à battre le système à son propre jeu et à réussir à être publiée est assez incroyable, si l’on prend en compte le nombre prodigieux de volumes de poésie qu’elle a écrit, sans tomber dans le culte grotesque de la personnalité imposé par le couple Ceausescu. Quoi qu’il en soit, elle est reconnue tardivement comme une écrivain accomplie dans sa carrière poétique et tristement après 1990, les ressources financières de Viata Româneasca où elle travaille comme rédactrice sont si réduites que la tension devient insoutenable pour elle et hâte sa mort. Le sort de cette poète relève de l’ironie : victime de discrimination pour des raisons politiques sous le communisme, à peine le système s’effondre qu’elle tombe à son tour, victime des cruelles conditions économiques de la période de « transition ». Le destin tragique de Florenta Albu est le même que celui de nombreux de ses compatriotes poètes et artistes. En ayant offert un aperçu sur l’interaction complexe entre la vie d’artiste et un régime totalitaire, on pourrait bien se demander qu’elle serait la valeur intrinsèque du produit fini, une fois qu’il a été soumis au filtre de la censure et des humiliations ? Il est probable que l’essence même de l’héritage poétique de Florenta est le mieux résumé par son amie Oana Orlea (correspondance privée, juillet 2003), lorsqu’elle écrit :

« Un résumé de la poésie de Florenta Albu pourrait être vu comme un requiem à une ére révolue… Son lyrisme méditatif, tragique, entrecoupé de flashes satiriques dénonce, en effet, autant le viol du corps que de l’esprit. Il n’y a rien de formel dans sa poésie, tandis que son langage poétique témoigne du désordre du monde. »

« Oui, Florenta Albu est une grande poète. Elle trouvera sa place méritée en littérature, comme une référence importante, et qui, au fil du temps, ne pourra que prendre de l’importance. »

 

 "Blouse Roumaine - the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women"

“Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women”

NOTE: For more information about Florenta Albu or Oana Orlea Cantacuzino, see:

http://www.blouseroumaine.com

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

Sources principales :  

Albu, Florenta, Fàrà popas, Bucarest, 1961, Austru, Bucarest, 1971,

Petrecere cu iarbà, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1973,

Ave noembrie – Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1975,

Roata lumii, Ed. Eminescu, Bucarest, 1977,

Umbrà arsà, Ed. Eminescu, Bucarest, 1980,

Epitaf, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1981,

Utopia, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest 1983,

A fi fire– Ed. Eminescu, Bucarest, 1984,

Banchet autumnal, Ed. Albatros, Bucarest, 1984,

Terase, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1985,

Efectul de serà – Florilegiu, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1987,

Kilometru unu în cer, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1988,

Banchet autmomnal II, Ed. Dacia, Cluj, 1991,

Scara ce nu duce nicàieri, Colectia Cartea Româneascà de Prozà,

Zidul martor – Pagini de jurnal 1970-1990, Ed. Cartea Româneascà, Bucarest, 1994, Aurolac, 1996

 

Autres sources:

Orlea, Oana, correspondance personnelle, mai 2003

Vasile, Geo, Poezia Românà între Milenii, Discobolul Collection, edited by Borbély, Stefan, Editura Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, 2002

Zaciu, Mircea et al, Dictionarul Scriitorilor Români, Vol 1 (A-C), p. 31-32, Editura Fundatiei Culturale Române, Bucarest, 1995

 

Sur Internet :

Transcript, Florenta Albu: http://www.transcript-review.org/section.cfm?id=121&lan=en

[1] Equivalent en Roumanie de l’enseignement à distance, note de l’auteur.

→ No CommentsTags:··················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (404), Nuno BRITO (b. 1981), PORTO, PORTUGAL: “Hungarian delirium”, “Delir Maghiar“

December 27th, 2016 · Books, Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (404), Nuno BRITO (b. 1981), PORTO, PORTUGAL: “Hungarian delirium”, “Delir Maghiar“

Nuno BRITO - Poems

Nuno BRITO – Poems

 

Hungarian delirium

Nuno BRITO (b. 1981)

I.

Like Morphine, I take away the pain from man

Whoever stares into my eyes will no longer be free

I’m the most beautiful woman in all mythologies

Paradise on earth – the most dangerous of all,

I’m creative madness

Patricia, the Sister of God

My sons are all things, all possibilities

my daughters

I induce the most complex suicides,

Give and take life and don’t think it good or bad because I’m

a flower and flowers are without judgement  they’re indifferent and sad

I advise the German romantics to take up

arms and fight for useless causes.  I stuff powder

into their guns,

Provoke in them the Greatest pleasures

I’m made of flesh and blood and not of light –

I’m Our Lady of the North Pole

watching the sun dripping on the ice:

 

II.

I’m the dream of a camel with special needs,

the delirium of the Siamese twin girls

the nightmare of four newborn giraffes

Paralysis is the opposite of God – you said

Beneath my skirts, I stroke your head –

I’m the ashes of a dictator in the beak of a flying raven

all quince paste sellers along the Iraqi border

Beneath my skirts – I love you like a lunatic

 

III.

I’m the possibility – in my mouth oxen till the land,

Leaving their hooves’ Carolingian marks

The plough writes a Petrarchan rhyme on my tongue

In Carolingian script of the most perfect calligraphy

I write that I adore you in fluorescent new metre

The tulle-dressed papist fairies Smear their faces with jelly and jam

Dreams: the sweetest, such as

Africa has broken in half

in my mouth the whole of Africa

Link, link, link, link

 

IV.

The fear of being alone, with the goddess of fertility gnawing at my

uterus

The most profound desires – of a crane driver

Mouth full of snow The hair burning to the sound of music –

red hair – the headphones!

The clouds in the dream are less beautiful

Snowflakes in Brussels, the angels warm up

Every day I drive on a silver motorway that runs till the

centre of your soul

There’s pleasure in each atom,

in each atom – the universe

The bakers knead dough across the whole of Hungary

in Upper Hungary and in Lower Hungary

Tomorrow the Hungarian children, the greediest –

the Hungarian bakers, the saddest

–  Look me in the eye

my eyes are sad, you said:

The saddest of all

 

© Translated by Ana Hudson, 2011

* * * * *

BRITO - Creme de la Creme

BRITO – Creme de la Creme

 

Delir Maghiar

Nuno BRITO (n. 1981, Porto, Portugal)

 

I.

Aidoma morfinei, alin durerea omului

Oricine m-ar privi în ochi îşi va pierde libertatea

Sunt cea mai atrăgătoare femeie din toate mitologiiile

Un Paradis pe Pământ – cel mai periculos om din lume,

Sunt o nebunie creatoare

Patricia, Sora lui Dumnezeu

Fiii mei sunt a-tot-ştiutori fără margini

Fiicelor mele

Le-am hărăzit sinucideri complexe,

Dând sau luând viaţa nu cred ca este bine sau rău pentru că sunt

o floare iar florile nu judecă ele fiind indiferente şi triste

eu i-aşi sfătui pe romanticii Germani să-şi ia

armele să se lupte pentru cauze pierdute. Eu le încarc

puştile,

Provocându-le plăcerile cele mai Mari

Sunt zămislit din carne şi sânge şi nu din lumină –

Eu sunt Sfânta Fecioară dela Polul Nord

făcând soarele să se topească pe ghiaţă:

 

II.

Sunt visul cămilei împovărate

delirul surorilor Siameze

coşmarul a patru girafe nou născute

Paralizia este antiteza lui Dumnezeu – mi-ai spus

Sub fusta mea iţi mângâi capul –

Eu sunt cenuşa dictatorului încleştată în ciocul corbului în zbor

toţi vânzătorii de magiun de gutui de la hotarul Irakului

Subt fusta mea – te iubesc nebuneşte

 

III.

Eu sunt o opţiune – în gura mea boii ară câmpul,

Lăsând întipărite în glie urma copitelor lor Carolingiene

Plugul brăzdează pe limba mea un vers din Petrarca

Cu litere în stil Carolingian în cea mai perfectă caligrafie

Eu scriu într-un metru fluorescent că te ador

Pe voalul tău clasic zânele îşi şterg faţa cu visuri

De magiun şi marmelada cea mai dulce aşa cum

Africa s-a spart în două

În gura mea o Africă întreagă

În lanţuri, în lanţuri

 

IV.

Teama de a fi lăsată singură cu zeiţa fertilităţii scormonindu-mi vagina

Cea mai intimă dorinţă a macaraagiului

Cu gura plină de zăpadă Părul arzând în sunetul muzicii –

păr roşcat – cască la urechi!

Norii viselor nu mai sunt atât de frumoşi

Fulgi de zăpadă la Bruxelles, îngerii se încălzesc

Zilnic conduc pe o autostradă de argint care pătrunde

În inima sufletului tău

Există o plăcere în fiecare atom,

În fiecare atom – universul

Brutarii frământă aluatul pe întreaga Ungarie

In zori copiii unguri dintre cei mai hămesiţi –

Brutarii unguri, cei mai trişti

Priveşte-mă direct in ochi

ochii mei sunt trişti, ai rostit:

Cei mai trişti din lumea întreagă

 

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin Roman, Londra 2016

© copyright Constantin Roman, London, 2016

* * * * *

 

Nuno BRITO

Nuno BRITO

  SHORT BIO: Nasceu no Porto, Portugal, em 1981.  Licenciado em História pela Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto, onde fez a pós-graduação em História Medieval e do Renascimento e o curso de formação contínua em Teoria da Literatura. Frequentou o Instituto de Estudos Medievais em Roma.

Prêmio no Concurso Literário da Faculdade de Letras UP (Poesia).

Publicou a obra de poesia “Delírio Húngaro” em 2009.

 

BIO NOTE: A poet from this brand new generation, Nuno Brito addresses us through disconcerting and frequently corrosive poetics. His poetic universe is a fragmented one, ranging from a cosmic-visionary outlook and inspiration in comics to exorcisms of the immediate existential reality. His writing embodies a very personal exacerbation of process, a temptation for automatism and a tendency to disconnected expression where both post-modern echoes of surrealism and re-workings of the disjointment of the self collide (often bringing Mário de Sá-Carneiro [1890-1916] to mind).’

Vasco Graça Moura

Nuno Brito was born in Porto. He has a BA Hons in History and an MA in Medieval and Renaissance History. He also attended the Institute for Medieval Studies in Rome where he pursued studies on Abelard. He published a book of short stories and his poems are published in various literary magazines. He now lives in California.

Poetry books since 2000: Delírio Húngaro (2009), Crème de la Crème (2011), Duplo Poço (2012), As abelhas produzem sol (2015)

 

→ No CommentsTags:···············

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “N”

November 12th, 2016 · Books, Communist Prisons, Diaspora, Education, Famous People, History, International Media, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “N”

letter-n

Paul Celan

Paul Celan

  Naiveté:

“Now, I am a person who likes simple words. It is true, I had realized before this journey that there was much evil and injustice in the world that I had now left, but I had believed I could shake the foundations if I called things by their proper name. I knew such an enterprise meant returning to absolute naiveté. This naiveté I considered as a primal vision purified of the slag of centuries of whorey lies about the world.”

(Paul Celan (1920-1970), Poet, Exile)

( “Edgard Jene and The Dream About The Dream”)

                                              (“Collected Prose”, Cancarnet, 1986)

 

Mambel Nandris: "Romanian Folk Tales"

Mabel Nandris: “Romanian Folk Tales”

 

  Nandris, Mabel (née Farrell): Altruism:“All that I did for Romania I did for free, 

  without any personal gain.” (‘pe degeaba’ – t.n.)

(Mabel Farrell Nandris: Personal Communication to the Author, Cambridge 1980)

 

 

 

Twenty Years in Siberia

Twenty Years in Siberia

Nandris – Cudla, Anita: A woman’s gulag:

“So much misery and suffering I had never had before as I have had now. Can anyone imagine how – in a winter with 40 degrees below zero – could a woman have made a journey of 80 kilometres on a reindeer sledge through pathless snow-drifts, through forests, through wilderness? In the night I could see nothing but the whiteness of the snow. I hung on with great fear and attention to the “narta” for it was small and if they had tripped suddenly, I could easily have been thrown out to be abandoned in a snow-drift where I would  have never been found.”

(Anita Nandris-Cudla (1904- 1986), “Twenty years in Siberia”)

 

Emil Cioran

Emil Cioran

  Nation:

  “When a nation has no principle left in its blood,

    the only resource is the will to  disintegrate.”

                                                          (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, exile)                                                           (“Précis de décomposition”)

 

 

Ion Gavrila Ogoranu

Ion Gavrila Ogoranu

 Nation:

“A Nation is not vanquished when foreign forces reduce it to pulp. A Nation is vanquished only                  when it gives up reaffirming its dignity, when it considers itself vanquished within its inner self.”

(Viorel Gheorghita, Farmer, Anti-Communist Resistance leader)

(Note on Ion Gavrila Ogoranu’s Memoirs: “Fir trees break up, they never bend”)

 

(1923 – 2006)

 

Emil Cioran

Emil Cioran

Nationality:

“I have no nationality – the best possible status for an intellectual.”

                                  (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer, exile)

 

 


 Ana Novac,

Ana Novac

Nationality:

“I was born in 1929 in Transylvania (România). One good morning, when I was 11 years old I woke up to be a Hungarian citizen, without having moved to another place, another street, or even without having changed my shirt. At the age of 14 I was deported to Auschwitz, as a Jew. On my release in 1945 I had become again a Romanian citizen. That is why I have the greatest difficulty in establishing my nationality, other than from my identity papers which specified that I was Jewish.”

(Ana Novac (1929-2010) “The Beautiful Days of My Youth:

 My Six Months in Auschwitz and Plaszow”)

 

rhinoceros Negoità, Lucia Carmen: Rhinoceros:

“In the Orwellian world of communist dictatorship the mechanisms of censorship had reached a devilish threshold of perfection, especially during the last decade. Aggressive, obvious or hidden, these devices were a sure way towards the alienation of the individual. As in Eugène Ionesco’s famous play, we were all in danger of becoming rhinoceros.

The whole system, well planned in its structure, condemned a whole people to a slow but sure death of the soul. The kulturniks of the age, those who, higher or lower in ranks, carried out the instructions received from the Party, from Ceausescu himself, had an inexhaustible imagination in heightening suspicion, fear and terror. The comic and the absurd mingled with the tragic. The individual himself was doomed to being a mere number, in a monotonous mortifying series.”

(Lucia Negoità, b. 1945, Breaza, quoted by Vianu, Lidia, in:

“Censorship in Romania”, pp. 159-161)

 

Brancusi & Arethia

Brancusi & Arethia

Negroponte, Sanda, née Tàtàrescu (1919-2009) – about her mother Aretia Tàtàrescu:

“ Who suffered terribly in all this was my mother: her husband and daughter were arrested and her son was in a mental hospital in Paris. I must add that mother, who lived always in the shadow of my father, was never involved in politics, not even for a single day. Furthermore, as an anecdotal aside, she never ever voted in elections: she deemed it unethical to vote for one’s own husband. So this is how it fell upon her to look after her family.

She was a woman of an extraordinary perception for what is beautiful. After the First War she settled in Oltenia, in the native village of my father’s, at Poiana-Gorj and there she was able to mix the beautiful with social duties. She realized that County Gorj was a very poor region, with many orphans and so she founded a charity with the aim of reviving the tradition of the carpet weaving of Oltenian style.

Mother was faced with a stark choice: either that of leading a mundane life, as the wife of a Prime Minister, or a life dedicated to things she felt it her duty to carry out. She was a lady of means and, as such, she felt it was her social duty to assist the poor girls of County Gorj, for whom she founded a textile mill producing Oltenian-style rugs, with modern patterns. For it she received various prizes abroad. In 1937 one of her rugs received a medal in Paris. This was her vocation. She was an extraordinary woman as a mother and wife and I should add, an extraordinary woman for her country as well: Brâncusi’s coming to Romania was entirely due to my mother” (t.n. to create the monumental triptych ensemble of the ‘Column of Infinity’, the ‘Gate of the Kiss’ and the ‘Table of Silence’ ).

(Sanda Tàtàrescu-Negroponte (1919-2009),

Daughter of Romanian P.M. Gheorghe Tàtàrescu,

Interviewed by Marian Oprea, “Lumea Magazin”, nr. 7, 2002)

 

Negroponte at Buckingham Palace

Sanda Tatarescu as a Debutante at Buckingham Palace

Sanda Tàtàrescu-Negroponte,  (1919-2009) –

From Buckingham Palace to the Communist Prisons:

“Until 1950 I lived times of great happiness, to the point of irresponsibility. In the meantime I was married and had children and I was leading a happy life, I should say somewhat superficial, if one is to describe it more accurately; but how beautiful it was! That was until the moment when the terrible (political) persecutions started… of course members of the Tàtàrescu family were amongst its victims: in all eleven people three women – two aunts and myself, who committed no crime and all the brothers and brother-in-laws of my father’s.

It is true, that when I arrived at the prison sorting centre, at Ghencea, I was made to scrub the floors, something I had never done in my life, which prompted my self-analysis: ‘what was the point to have been presented to the King of England, when I could not even scrub the floors?’ But, at the same time, I said to myself: ‘I am deeply grateful to my father, who gave me the chance of being what I was, once upon a time, even though, now, I had to pay so dearly for it.’ But God helped to see me through all these prisons, with their terrible hardships and deprivations – so that at the end of my life, as I am now 82 years-old, I can state that I always looked people in the eye, that I protected my family and children and that I kept with dignity the name which I inherited from my parents.

(Sanda Tàtàrescu-Negroponte,

Daughter of Romanian PM Gheorghe Tàtàrescu,

interviewed by Marian Oprea, Lumea Magazin, nr. 7, 2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

→ No CommentsTags:································

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “M”

November 12th, 2016 · Books, Communist Prisons, Diaspora, Famous People, History, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

 

th-2

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “M”

 

Marthe Bibesco

Marthe Bibesco

  Marriage:
“She was surprised to have nothing to do: marriage was a misfortune, but not an occupation.”
(Marthe Bibesco, (1886-1973), Writer, Socialite)

 

Rev. Calciu-Dumitreasa

Rev. Calciu-Dumitreasa

  Martyrs:
“…We are now witnessing an evident return to God, and this is happening in countries where faith is persecuted. Today the communist countries are giving the world new martyrs for Christ…”

(Fr. Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa (1925-2006), Dissident Orthodox Priest)

 

Gregor von Rezzori

Gregor von Rezzori

  Memory:
“Memory is not absolutely reliable – it makes an arbitrary selection of what it wants to preserve and it discards what it dislikes, it hoists the emotions to the fore, it transfigures and it destroys.”
(Gregor von Rezzori, (1914-1998), Writer, Exile)

 

Paul Goma

Paul Goma

  Mentality Change:

“If the Romanians would like to become a people, rather than remain a pupulace with an eternal rural mentality, if the Romanians would like to have their qualities and good deeds acknowledged, then they might need starting to acknowledge their own own                                                                                                                                                                    defects and misdeeds”.

Paul Goma, (b. 1935), Writer, Dissident, Political prisoner,

Exile in France)

 

Georges ENESCO

Georges ENESCO

  Menuhin, Yehudi:
“Wasn’t it a joy to give advise to Yehudi Menuhin? If I were to say that I had formed him I would be wrong, because he was already marvellous when I took him in hand.”
(Georges Enesco, (1881-1955) composer, conductor, violinist, exile)

 

Veronica Micle

Veronica Micle

  Micle, Veronica:
Longing:
“How often may I not have hoped
At each and ev’ry movement
So longing that you might appear
You, sweetest human being?

And then how oft’ have I not cried
For hours, in the night,
To snuffl’ alone the candlelight
Without my love in sight?

(Veronica Micle, poem dedicated to Mihai Eminescu)
(Copyright Translation by Constantin Roman, 2002)

Paul CELAN

Paul CELAN

  Mirror:
“She turned her back on the mirror, hating the mirror’s vanity.
(Paul Celan (1920-1970), Poet, “Backlight”, “Collected Prose”, 1986)

 

 

 

Nelly Miricioiu

Nelly Miricioiu

  Miricioiu, Nelly:
“…Nelly Miricioiu sang with a tremendous palette of colours, a delicate touch with the coloratura, and plenty of old-fashioned intensity…”
(Robert Thicknesse, The Times, London, 28 October 2003)

 

 

Vatican

Vatican

  Mistress:
“Let me through, I am the Pope’s mistress.”
(Countess Starjensky, née Princess Bibesco, ca 1900,

exhorting the Swiss Guards to let her enter the Vatican)

 

                                                                                                                     

Theodor Pallady

Theodor Pallady

Modern:
“I am not a modern painter, I am timeless”
Theodore Pallady (1871-1956), Painter, Exile)

 

Gen. Pacepa

Gen. Ion Pacepa

Monitoring:
“Monitoring the thoughts of the entire Romanian population

has been Ceausescu’s major domestic policy goal,

for which he has spared no expense or manpower.”
(Gen. Ion Pacepa, Securitate chief, defected to the US,
“Red Horizons”, Heinemann, London 1988)

 

Emil Cioran

Emil Cioran

Music:
“Music is the refuge of souls ulcerated by happiness.”
(Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer, exile)
(“Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

Mystery:
“Mystery – a word which we use to trick the others, to make them believe that we are more profound than they are.”
(Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer, exile)
(“Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

                                          

The Village Girl who kicked a Hornets Nest

The Village Girl who kicked a Hornets Nest

Müller, Herta’s Wish:
“I wished that [my interrogator] would carry a sack with all his dead. I wished his hacked-off hair would smell like a newly mown graveyard whenever he sat at the barber’s. I wished his crimes would reek when he sat down at the table with his grandson after work. That the boy would be disgusted by the fingers that were feeding him cake”.
(Herta Müller, (b. 1953, Banat, Romania) “The Land Of Green Plums”)

→ No CommentsTags:·········

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “L”

November 10th, 2016 · Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Translations

th-1

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations – Letter “L”

 

Elena Lupescu

Elena Lupescu

  Laszlo, Philip de, on Madame Lupescu:

“I was greatly surprised – she has fine features, lovely red hair, is very versatile in her strong intelligence, and with great experience of the world. She spoke French, English and German to me. I was sorry that her face, particularly her mouth, was so heavily painted, for I think she would look better without, but this place is the home of exaggerated artificiality. I must admit that I am looking forward to painting her. She will be a splendid sitter. Whatever her life and past, she is simpler than these complicated comedians at the Court”.

(Owen Rutter, Portrait of a painter, pp. 376-377)

 

Dinu Lipatti

Dinu Lipatti

  Lessons:

“Giving lessons means receiving them.”

                                                                                             (Dinu Lipatti (1917-1950), Pianist, Composer, Exile)

 

 

Georges Enesco

Georges Enesco

  Life:

“It’s finished… this story started over there, in the Moldavian plains and it ends here, in the heart of Paris. To reach the great city, where I finished my contest, from the depths of my native village I took a dusty road marked by trees that are passing by to infinity. It was certainly a long road and yet I think of it so short!”

                        (Georges Enesco (1881-1955) composer, conductor, violinist, exile)

 

 

  Limerick on Madame Lupescu:

“Have you heard of Madam Lupescu,

Who came to Romania’s rescue?

It’s a wonderful thing

To be under a King:

Is Democracy better I ask you?”

(Anonimous)

 

Clara Haskil (1895-1960)

Clara Haskil (1895-1960)

  Lipatti, Dinu, seen by Clara Haskil:

“Oh, I could spend hours talking about Dinu. He was always so aware, so alive, in spite of all the terrible pain he had to suffer. And his music-making! I really can’t find the words to describe what I felt whenever I hear him play. I often thought he felt almost guilty he had been blessed with so much genius.”

“Clara Haskil, – a self-portrait”,

(from the plaquette of the CD – TAH 430-432 Clara Haskil en récital)

 

Maria Cebotari

Maria Cebotari

  Lisa della Casa about Maria Cebotari:

“Once heard, never forgotten!”

 

 

 

 

Eugene Ionesco

Eugene Ionesco

  Literature:

“So long as one lives, all is pretext for literature.”

                                                                                       (Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994), dramatist, “Exit the King”)

 

 

 

Emil Cioran (b. Transylvania, 1911 - d. Paris, 1995), celebrated in france as one of the greatest 20th c writers - He was a friend of Mircea Eliade, Eugène Ionesco, Paul Celan, Samuel Beckett, and Henri Michaux.

Emil Cioran
(b. Transylvania, 1911 – d. Paris, 1995)

 

 

  Literature:

“Prolific in essence, literature lives through the plethora of vowels, through the cancer of the word.”

                                            (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer, “Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

 

 

Ionesco: Exit the king

Ionesco: Exit the king

  Living:

“Living is abnormal.”

                                                                                  (Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994), dramatist, “The Rhinoceros”)

 

 

 

Gregor von Rezzori

Gregor von Rezzori

  Living:

“In time, it was not me who was living, it was the time which was living in me.”

(Gregor von Rezzori (1914-1998), writer, exile)

 

 

 

Emile CIORAN

Emile CIORAN

  Love:

“The art of love? That is to know how to match the temperament of a vampire with the discretion of an anemone.”

                                                                                                    (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer)

(“Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

 

 

Paul CELAN

Paul CELAN

  Love:

“Love despaired of them: so long was their embrace.”

                                                                                                                         (Paul Celan (1920-1970), Poet, Exile)

                                                                                                        (“Backlight”, “Collected Prose”, Carcanet, 1986)

 

 

Brancusi

Brancusi

  Love:

“Love calls for love. It is not as important to be loved as to love with all one’s power and one’s being .”

(Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), Sculptor, Exile)

 

 

 

Emil Cioran

Emil Cioran

  Lover:

“After the metaphors, the Chemist. This is how great sentiments are frittered away. To start as a poet and finish as a gynaecologist. From all conditions, that of the lover is the least enviable.”

                                                                                                       (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer)

(“Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

 

 

Elena Ceausescu

Elena Ceausescu

  Love making:

“A fuzzy noise together with heavy breathing and short yelps came suddenly out of the speaker… ‘They should be arrested! At eleven in the morning, working people should be out working, not making love.”

(Elena Ceausescu (1916-1989), on listening to a secret service tape,

recorded in a private home in Bucharest,

quoted by Gen. Ion Pacepa’s ‘Red Horizons’, 1988)

 

Syllogismes de l'amertume

Syllogismes de l’amertume

  Lucidity:

“Purpose of lucidity: to reach a reasonable despair, an Olympian ferocity.”

                                                                                                                       (Emil Cioran (1911-1995), philosopher, writer:

“Syllogismes de l’amertume”)

 

 

→ No CommentsTags:··································

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations: Letter “K”

November 9th, 2016 · Books, Diaspora, Famous People, History, International Media, PEOPLE, quotations, Translations

th

 

 Dictionary of Romanian Quotations: Letter “K”

 

Alice Keppel

Alice Keppel

 

  Keppel, Mrs.

“To these gatherings (n.t. Mrs. Keppel’s parties during WWII at the London Ritz), Princess Callimachi brought that element of the Orient Express which Violet Trefusis missed so much.”

(Philippe Jullian and John Philips,

“Violet Trefusis Life and Letters”, pp. 106)

 

Nichifor Crainic

Nichifor Crainic

  King:

“Have Mercy, o God, on our King,

Lend your ear and hear

The prayer of our whole Land…

Give Him many days,

Anoint His brow with Thy Grace,

Have Mercy, o God, on our King!”

(Nichifor Crainic, (1889-1972). Poet)

 

Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi

  Kosmutzà, Corneliu on Brâncusi:

“The work (Prometheus) was done in clay, whilst Brâncusi was telling various (folk) tales, when not playing flutes of his own manufacture or the guitar. He would be highly amused when I would take an Indian song to be a Romanian lament song.… the Atelier in Montparnasse where the artist was working was damp and spartan at the limit o bare necessity. Brâncusi’s lived between mounds of clay covered in damp cloth and of rafters needed for his sculpture.”

(http://www.Brancusi.ro/1911Prometeu1.htm)

 

  Kosmutzà, Otilia (Mrs. György Bölöni) seen by Gilberte Brassai:

“I enjoy spending time with the Bölönis. Mrs.. Bölöni (Ady used to call her Itoka and the name has stuck *) is short rotund and talkative in a woman-like way. She is sometimes highfalutin and effusive and sometimes she curses vehemently. But she knows a lot about Anatole France, whose secretary she used to be and also about Ady. It is just now that I heard that Ady once wanted to jump off the Eiffel Tower”.

*) (a.n. ‘Ady’ is the Hungarian poet Ady Endre (1877-1919), whose castle in Transylvania was bought by Octavian Goga, (q.v. Veturia Goga);

(Gilberte Brassaï, op.cit. 70)

Kossuth Lajos (1802-1894)

Kossuth Lajos
(1802-1894)

  Kosuth Lajos (Hungarian 1848 Revolutionary):

“He seemed to be not only a well informed and distinguished man, but also ‘un homme de bien’.”

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth of Romania, Pss. of Wied

Elizabeth of Romania, Pss. of Wied  Kremnitz, Mitte on Romanian folk grreting Queen Elizabeth of Romania:

“The people who came to greet her (Queen Elisabeta of Wied, t.n.) did not look like the conventional folk of Northern European capitals. They looked so beautiful in their multi-coloured and original costumes, so full of dignity and grace, that it almost looked as if it was set on artistic criteria by some theatre stage director in order to play the scene of a princely cortège.”

(Mite Kremnitz on the reception reception given in 1869  by the inhabitants of Bucharest to their Queen – Elizabeth of Wied on her entry in the city.

(Quoted by Vasile Avram in: ‘Cetatea Literarà’, 2002)

*  *  *  *

→ No CommentsTags:·······················

Dictionary of Romanian Quotations: Letter “J”

November 6th, 2016 · Books, Diaspora, Education, Famous People, History, International Media, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

can-stock-photo_csp5530633  Dictionary of Romanian Quotations: Letter “J”

 

James II by Peter Lely

James II by Peter Lely

  James II, King

“To revolt is one thing, to approve is something else. When James II had fallen, there were certain Anglican bishops who followed into exile the pro-Catholic, or perhaps the Catholic King, only because he was the legitimate Sovereign and no matter what happened to him, he was irreplaceable”.

(Nicolae Steinhardt, (1912-1989), Philosopher, Orthodox Monk, “Jurnalul Fericirii”)

 

Jewish Writers Union of Romania:

Mihail Sebastian

Mihail Sebastian

“This morning I made the stupid mistake of going to Dorian’s, where I had been invited to a ‘writers conference’. I helplessly witnessed the constitution of “the Union of Jewish Writers” with Benador, Calugaru and Dorian at its head. Unknown figures, non-entities, old ambitions and troubles, all drawing fresh life from impudence and ostentation.

I won’t forgive my cowardice at not having shouted out all they deserved to hear. But that’s the last time I let myself be caught in such snares.”

(Mihail Sebastian (Iosif Hechter), (1907-1945), Playwright, Journalist, “Journal, 1935-1944”, Heinemann, London, 2001)

 

Jonathan Swift’s Satires:

jonathan-swift  “Publishing Swift’s satires in 1985 (in Communist Romania, t.n.), I myself fought a lot with the censor in order to include “A Modest proposal” concerning eating Irish children, which had become ‘subversive’ here on account of meat shortage in Romania. Faced with the alternative of not publishing the book at all, or doing it without the famous text, I gave it up. The supreme level of censorship was a department of the (Communist) Party Central Committee.”

(Denisa Comànescu (b. 1954, Buzau, Romania, ibid., 219-221)

 

Paul CELAN

Paul CELAN

  Judgement:

“The day of judgement had come. In order to find the greatest crime the cross was nailed to Christ.”

(Paul Celan (1920-1970), Poet, Exile: “Backlight”, “Collected Prose”, Carcanet, 1986)

 

Petru Dumitriu

Petru Dumitriu

  Judgemental:

“(My western interlocutors), so impeccable, irreproachable, immaculate (…) who would have never fallen into temptation, neither under threats victims to their weaknesses, nor experienced half a century of tyranny (…) they would not be fit to judge me.”

(Petru Dumitriu (1924-2002), writer, exile: «La Moisson»)

 

Madeleine Cancicov

Madeleine Cancicov

  Judges:

“ Judges are prodigal because their life is not at stake”.

(Madeleine Cancicov (1904-1985), lawyer, writer, political prisoner, exile: “Le cachot des marionettes”)

 

 

 

→ No CommentsTags:············