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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.

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Book Review: “The Romanian” by Bruce Benderson (Prix de Flore)

April 2nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Book Review: “The Romanian” by Bruce Benderson (Prix de Flore) · Books, PEOPLE, Reviews

There are also the occasional hilarious interludes such as the one at the Romanian Cultural Centre in New York. Here, the Institute’s Director, Carmen Firan is a former protege of ex-President Ion Iliescu and Berensn describes her as “an intellectual”(sic) a matter of opinion on which the jury is still out. Benderson also mentions a meeting organized in NY where Firan’s choice guest is a certain Nina Cassian. In romania, Cassian is still remebered as an ex-communist sycophant but in spite of it in New York the subject is repackaged as a “dissident” (and how!).

Cassian was a poet who, during four long decades of communism enjoyed unashamedly, the spoils of the dictatorship. During her extended honeymoon with the Romanian Communist censorship Cassian published several dozen volumes of her grotesque poetry, before she absconded to USA, in the late 1980s. Bruce finds her in NY where she is hailed as a linchpin of Romanian culture…. now we know where are the sympathies of the Romanian Cultural Centre: well – birds of a feather!

A literary critic of “Le Monde” who is quoted on the front cover of this book states that:

“what astonishes and intrigues is Benderson’s way of recounting in the sweetest possible voice, things which are considered shocking… ”

If the French are “shocked”, then the Romanians would certainly be outraged, not by the lack of prudery, as by the fresco of the Romanian society of motley pimps, hustlers, prostitutes, bureaucrats, hangers-on, desperate people and the whole gamut of poor destitute of all ages, social background and ethnic origin, neither of whom come out too well, in the end: TOUGH!

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Sfidarea Idiocratiei (I) – Memorii din Romania si Anglia

December 3rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Sfidarea Idiocratiei (I) – Memorii din Romania si Anglia · Books, Diaspora, quotations, Reviews

CRITERII DE DISCRIMINARE (fragmente): (…) Prima tentativa de a obtine un pasaport a fost la varsta de 14 ani, la eliberarea primului meu buletin de identitate, cand am crezut ca in mod automat sunt indreptatit sa obtin si pasaport. Pentru ca aveam niste strabuni cehi,  eram nerabdator sa descopar familia indepartata din Cehoslovacia. M-am dus […]

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Cambridge Memoir (I) – Peterhouse

December 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Cambridge Memoir (I) – Peterhouse · Books, Diaspora, quotations, Uncategorized

Peterhouse has the oldest Hall in Cambridge, going back to its foundation, in 1284. The Hall was restored in the 19c century when it was decorated by William Morris. It could take up to over one hundred undergraduates, but as their number grew, two sittings were introduced and eventually a self-service system. Formal dinners got fewer and attendance was no longer compulsory. However, as meals were heavily subsidized from college funds and benefactions,

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Orwell Diaries (ed. Peter Davison, Harvil Secker, London 2009)

November 17th, 2009 · Comments Off on Orwell Diaries (ed. Peter Davison, Harvil Secker, London 2009) · Books, Diary, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

Orwell Diaries 1931- 1949 Edited by Peter Davison, Publ: Harvil Secker ISBN 9781846553295 (sourced from ten original diary notebooks) I bought Orwell’s Diaries thinking that I could glean more information about his philosophical conversion from Spanish Republicanism to what had become later a lucid critic of left-wing dictatorship. It appears, sadly, that two notebooks of […]

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Alternative Romania: Women Celebrities an Anthology of Unsung Voices

May 5th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE

Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women

* “It is a Herculean Work…” (Editor, Buenos Aires)

* “It is beautifully written and meticulously researched and presented. It is accessible to the lay reader and will be a treasure-trove for further research by academics drawn from a wide range of disciplines ” (Political Analyst, UK)

* “For those who think that Romania is nothing more than Dracula and Ceausescu, the book has a lot to teach you… ‘ (IT geek, London)

* “Constantin Roman invites us for a walk, during which he enjoins past and present alike, in a brisk coming and going of the narrative. It is a narrative that cannot suddenly end, but rather one which compels us to start all over again and revisit. It is a truly wonderful gift, a very happy surprise indeed of an inherently original book, which haunts us like the persistent music of those Romanian women’s voices.” (French Government Adviser, Paris)

* There is no doubt, what so ever, that if Romania is the creation of a male society as well as of political conjectures, its place in the Western European psyche is entirely due to its women, who knew how to impose their reputation in the aristocratic salons of Paris, in the world of literature, or in the English clubs so intimately linked to politics. For “Blouse Roumaine” is an incursion charged with passion, which conjures varied names, such as Queen Marie of Romania, Countess Anna de Noailles, the Princess Bibesco, or the actress Elvire Popesco, not forgetting the diabolic Ana Pauker and Elena Ceausescu.” (Art Historian, Paris)

* “… an audaceeous choice…” (Reader, France)

* “So long as the masculine and the feminine are not absolutely complementary notions in terms of fair percentages, it is a good idea to write a book about Romanian Women of World repute.” (Novelist, Argentina)

* “… it represents the idea of metamodernism as cultural paradigm to an alternative synthesis of modern and postmodern paradigms” (Researcher, New Zealand)

* …an easy book, which offered me, at least, the joy of reading an interesting, well-documented Anthology, without being bored.” (American Scientist)

* ‘ Blouse Romaine’ is a fascinating book about women who, for the sake of their ideals, sacrificed everything in order to safeguard basic values of humanity, generosity and compassion, women who fought the communist dragon imposed by fellow women. (Researcher, Cluj, Transylvania)


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Romantic Travels on the Lower Danube (1800-1940)

April 28th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Books, quotations, Reviews

This is an area covering parts of the former Ottoman, Russian and Habsburg empires, with a special focus on the historic regions of Wallachia, Banat, Transylvania, Moldavia, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Black Sea and the Lower Danube.
These engravings could be historic maps, or showing views, architectural monuments, costumes, military battle scenes, battle plans, uniforms, costumes, transport, traditions, historical portraits or political cartoons.

Some Distinguished Travellers: to mention only a few, would be Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu, the Bishop of Aleppo, Count Alexander Demidoff, Sir Samuel Baker, Gordon of Khartoum (former British Consul at Galatz), Sir Samuel Baker and in the 20th century Satcheverel Sittwell and Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Some distinguished artists: Theodore Aman, Bartlett, Pierre Francois Basa, Bouquet, Cham, Daumier, Heath, Auguste Alexandre Hirsch, Lancelot, WH P.F. Preziosi, Raffet, Schlotterbeck, William F. Sorrieu, Tardieu, Turner, Valerio, Emile-Louis Vernier, Claude Vignon.

Notable Cartographers: Castaldo, De Fer, La Feuille, Hondius, Homann, Lotter, Mercator, Merian, Munster, Moll, Ortelius, Probst, Ruscelli, Schenk, Sanson, Stackhouse, Valk, Winter .

Further reading about the Collection:

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“Defying the Idiocracy” – Cambridge and Romanian Memoirs

May 24th, 2006 · Comments Off on “Defying the Idiocracy” – Cambridge and Romanian Memoirs · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE, Reviews, Translations

“Defying the Idiocracy” Constantin ROMAN SYNOPSIS The world from which Constantin ROMAN emerges, is blurring gently through the lens of time. Once landed on the British Isles, the faraway country which he left behind is thoroughly destroyed by the bulldozers of Ceausescu’s cultural revolution and its ruins remain behind hostile frontiers. Being shipwrecked on a […]

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MEDICAL CARE DURING DICTATORSHIP (“My Second University” Two Reviews by Ionel Taranu & Constantin ROMAN

October 19th, 2005 · Comments Off on MEDICAL CARE DURING DICTATORSHIP (“My Second University” Two Reviews by Ionel Taranu & Constantin ROMAN · Books, PEOPLE, Reviews

MEDICAL CARE UNDER DICTATORSHIP (“My Second University” Two Reviews: Ionel TARANU and Constantin ROMAN) “My Second University – memories from Romanian Communist prisons” by Dr. Stanciu Stroia and Dr. Dan Dusleag, (iUniverse Inc., New York, 2005, 271 pages, Index, illustrations, £10.53 ISBN: 0-595-34639-1) THREE GENERATIONS OF MEDICAL DOCTORS UNDER DICTATORSHIP: Dr. Stanciu Stroia was born […]

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A Russian Childhood (Yalta, St. Petersburg, Moscow, London) Memoirs of Tatiana Nancy GAUBERT

June 21st, 2005 · Comments Off on A Russian Childhood (Yalta, St. Petersburg, Moscow, London) Memoirs of Tatiana Nancy GAUBERT · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE, Reviews

Synopsis An Imperial Foundling A Russian Childhood (Yalta, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yalta, and early Womanhood (London, Paris, Dublin) by Tatiana Nancy (“Romanovna”) GAUBERT What would a crocodile on a silver chain, taken for a walk on the streets of St. Petersburg, have in common with a kneeling British ambassador, vowing eternal love to a Russian […]

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