Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

Entries Tagged as 'memoirs'

PEOPLE I MET – Haroun TAZIEFF (1914-1988)

March 23rd, 2017 · No Comments · Diary, Diaspora, Famous People, PEOPLE, Poetry, Science, Short Stories & Cameos

Madame Tazieff-mère was, as one would have expected, a formidable lady, in every respect, and, for that matter, larger than life… At the age of 70 she just returned from riding in the forest nearby. Beside her sporting pursuits, Madame Tazieff was a dedicated artiste painter, in strong chromatic touches and her canvasses decorated the walls of the entire house. In true Russian fashion, she made sure that she remained the focus of attention.

[Read more →]

Tags:···················

Five Book Reviews: Memoirs of Adrian Marino, Gheorghe Rafael-Stefanescu, Boris Johnson, George Orwell and Joseph Stalin

May 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Books, History, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

This is the most meaningful metamorphosis in Orwell’s life, during which time he realizes the underlying workings of Communism. Such ideology he ditches to refute it completely in his future best sellers: “1984” and “The Animal Farm”. We find Orwell, as an intelligent man, flirting with the left-wing dictatorship (and the Civil War) only to reject it without a right of appeal. As an observer, living his life’s experience at first hand, this is a compelling experience
It is precisely the stuff for which George Orwell’s works were completely banned in Eastern Europe, to the last days of Communism.

[Read more →]

Tags:·····················

Four Book Reviews by Constantin ROMAN – Biographies of Hugh Trevor-Roper, Salomé Zourabichvili, George Orwell,

May 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Books, History, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Reviews

When in old age he found himself the master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, he reviewed “Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England” by Maurice Cowling, the history don, who had secured him the Mastership of the oldest Cambridge College. Cowling was the guru to such Conservative Party luminaries as Peregrine Worsthorne and Colin Welch of the Telegraph, and to that extent he was a person of influence. “The subject is the intellectual history of our time and the great spiritual crisis in which we have found ourselves,” Trevor-Roper wrote. “I find, on reading it, that this intellectual history has unfolded itself, and this crisis has been observed, and is to be resolved, almost entirely within the walls of Peterhouse.”

[Read more →]

Tags:·················

Cambridge History of Science – BOOK REVIEWS: CONSTANTIN ROMAN – “CONTINENTAL DRIFT – COLLIDING CONTINENTS, CONVERGING CULTURES”

January 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Books, Diaspora, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

Prof> John D. Dewey, FRS,
(Universities of Oxford and California, Davis)

“Continental Drift” offered me a relaxing excellent read full of humour, humanity, wisdom and good science, way beyond the History of Science. This book is an Ode to the Joy of Freedom, of a kind celebrated in Enesco’s Rhapsodies, or the cosmic vision of Brancusi’s “Column of Infinity”: this is Constantin Roman’s “Ninth Symphony”. I trust the reader would share with me pleasures that have derived from reading ‘Continental Drift’.

[Read more →]

Tags:·············

«COMPTES RENDUS D’OUVRAGES – BOOK REVIEWS – BOEKGESPREKINGEN». Geologica Belgica,

February 28th, 2013 · No Comments · Books, International Media, OPINION, quotations, Reviews

“Cambridge was almost like a mythical mistress, whose eroticism would excite my resolve against obstacles put in the way by sundry bureaucratic tormentors and moral dwarfs”.
This is an exhilarating book and I can fully subscribe to Professor J. F. Dewey’s view (Oxford), who wrote the Foreword of the book: “Continental Drift offered me a relaxing excellent read full of humour, wisdom and good science, way beyond the History of Science”.

[Read more →]

Tags:····················

Ceausescu’s “Diplomats” in Britain (Extract from: “Defying the Idiocracy” – Cambridge Memoirs, 1969-1974)

June 29th, 2012 · No Comments · Books, Diary, Diaspora, PEOPLE, quotations, Uncategorized

The burly comrade came banging at the door. There was something terribly Romanian about his banging on my door: an Englishman would have rung once, perhaps twice and after a few moments, seeing that nobody answered he will have left. I had no need to find out who it was, in order not to open the door: the Comrade was banging solidly at my door… I thought:

– This was his visiting card, the physical muscle of the uneducated, the pressing need of the apparatchik, whose mission was, come what may, to bang at my door, regardless, until somebody would respond. He should be so lucky! But what if the door gave in, under his brute force, which he might have applied at Lubyanka? These modern doors were so flimsy…

I never felt so insecure. Still, I had enough courage to tiptoe upstairs and look down from a rooftop terrace, several floors above the door. It was early afternoon and hardly anybody about, who might put him off his rude behaviour:

– Not a very good PR, Comrade, doubtless this was a textbook behaviour aquired in Moscow, with very little currency in the West!

Eventually he left:

– God bless him! He gave up on me, for the time being!

I waited long enough to make certain he had left. I went straight to the Head Porter and related the story.

– Next time he comes, you should call the police!
– What a good idea! Why haven’t I thought of it?

It took time to absorb the new rights to which I was entitled, as a free citizen. It felt like an animal born in captivity, which lived in a cage, for most of its life and now that the cage door was open it did not understand the benefits of Freedom…

[Read more →]

Tags:···········

Book Launching (France): “Journal d’exil” by Mircea Milcovitch, Éditions Amalthée

January 8th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Books, Diaspora, International Media, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

Les “Éditions Amalthée” publieront dans la seconde moitié du mois de février 2012 le “Journal d’Exil”. Ce récit avait été rédigé après l’arrivée en France de l’artiste, entre octobre 1968 jusqu’à la fin de l’année 1969. Le livre est préfacé par le docteur Marc Andronikof.
he Éditions Amalthée publishing house will launch in February 2012 the Memoirs of artist sculptor Mircea Milcovitch (Mircea Milcovici), with a preface by Mark Andronikoff. This book is written by en exile, whose family was no stranger to the sad road of uprooting. Mircea’s father, himself a native of Bessarabia, was compelled to seek refuge in the Kingdom of Romania in the wake of the invasion by the Red Army, at the end of WWII. T
Whilst reading an early draft of this Memoir, one encounters a certain melancholy, imbued by generations of displaced ancestors, living at the confluence of warring empires. But beyond this one can detect a strong determination to live the newly-found freedom and to succeed in the artistic career.

[Read more →]

Tags:···················

Four decades ago – A Romanian in Britain (A Story from the Home Office website)

April 23rd, 2011 · No Comments · Books, Diary, Diaspora, PEOPLE, Reviews

My greatest trouble in England arose from my refusal to give up my Romanian nationality. In retrospect this may seem bizarre, especially that I was menaced on a number of fronts: by Securitate operatives masquerading as diplomats keen to end my flouting of socialist order and drag me back to Romania; by a prospective mother-in-law who refused to allow her daughter to marry me unless I accepted British citizenship; and by officials of the British Home Office who assumed that my desire to retain what I saw as my unalienable right of birth, my nationality, might stem from communist loyalties.

Afterwards Lord Goodman decided to champion my cause, writing to the head of the Home Office that I was a

“man of impeccable character clearly determined to belong here and make a significant contribution to our national life.””

In retrospect I hope that I discharged myself honourably of Goodman‘s expectations as I gave generously my expertise in discovering oil and gas for Britain and batting for Britain abroad on the cultural and scientific front, especially in my native country – Romania

[Read more →]

Tags:··········

QUOTATIONS: How other people see us (1) – Margaret THATCHER

April 10th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Books, PEOPLE, quotations

Interesting insight on her visit to Ceausescu in the mid 1970s: “Margaret Thatcher – the Path to Power” (Harper Collins, London 1995, ISBN 000 255806 8, 656 pages)
I was also shown around a scientific institute specializing in polymer research. My guide was none other than Elena Ceausescu who had already began to induulge a personal fantasy world which matched her husband’ absurdity, if not in human consequences, she was determined to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry for work on polymers. it subsequently emerged that she could barely have distinguished a polymer from a polygon. But behind the defences of translation and communist long-windedness she put up quite a good show.

[Read more →]

Tags:···········

Book Review: “Once Upon Another Time” by Jessica Douglas-Home

April 4th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Books, OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews, Uncategorized

Once upon another time
by Jessica Douglas-Home.
Quotation from page 169-170;
"the Arbuthnots (British Ambassador to Romania, – LC note) second party took place that evening – a lavish buffet for twenty. As with the first one, people sat in huddles whispering on the stairs and in corners. A gaunt professor of architecture entered and for a time seemed frozen by the sight of the two tables piled high with unheard of delicacies. A waiter broke the spell by handing him a glass of wine from a silver tray whereupon he fell on the food like a starving man.

(LC note- Romanians had next to nothing to eat under Ceausescu in the 1980s, except chicken claws).

I have a picture of Plesu and Liicianu stretching their legs out from the deep velvet sofa, arms clasped behind their necks, their eyes glinting amusedly at me, relaxed and at peace with themselves.

[Read more →]

Tags:··········