1945 January 1st
Absolutely alone, this Eve. First time ever, I imagine. Listening to the King's speech and to general Rădescu's[i]. Nonetheless, kicked off the evening by a prayer: asked God for PEACE, serenity, calmness. At the depth of my soul: melancholy, not to be healed. Now I know the happiness I could have experienced, but for a simpler nature. Outside – the rattling Russian rifles. Their way of expressing exhilaration. Whenever I think about the goings-on on the front, I'm petrified. January 2nd
Love, I'm thriving on exquisite meals. Today, at Cora's, delicious breakfast, highly enjoyable company. Then, at Maruca's, music. The maestro
[ii] was playing the piano. Overall atmosphere conjuring up an age of culture, French furnishings – or, maybe, the ways of the lords from the olden days. January 7th
Little darling, I dreamed about you last night in a new shirt, madam Sabina had stopped by. Hard day, today. Bliss, peacefulness, love at the liturgy – makes you forget human mordacity. Mimy's wedding – very handsome couple, positively adoring each other. God bless luck on them and the best in life! Breakfast at Aurora's, brilliant, highly animated atmosphere: think they're thrilled to have me there. Maretta and Valerie called to pay their (wrongly-termed!) respects: crabbed and caustic as ever, a pair of volcanoes, as it seemed. Had I been forced to live under the same roof, I myself would have fallen to hysterics. Good thing there was music at the maestro's. January 11th
My Love, we are living savage days. The deportation of the Germans – Saxons, Swabians – has begun. It is now that I realize the monstrosity of such measures initiated by the Germans, but that have come to turn against themselves, in ways that a Christian European cannot condone without a sense of shame for the human race! But what is man against these times! God Merciful, can You tame their thoughts?! Whenever I hear about the goings-on in Poland, the Czech Land, France, about forcefully exporting people to Germany as a labor force, I am overcome by sickness. Now, that I have made the acquaintance of some of the ill-fated that are sent hither, I'm suffocated with disgust. These news have completely monopolized my interests. I have not been capable of working on my book, nor have I gone to music hearings, I'm seized by despair. O, God, send us peace! I thought I'd be courageous enough to contribute my life for that. Each time I pursue that line, however, my self-mindedness sets me back. What is the meaning of taking refuge in a sordid life, that is entirely made up of work? Perhaps I sense I can still be of service to the public good. January 21st
Little darling, the appalling thing is that we may grow into accepting anything, be it out of cowardly habit, be it out of the will to live. But events hastily come one upon another, Germans are playing ninepins with the Eastern strongholds, Silesia is razed to the earth. How peculiar! The furious bliss I used to await these days, in times when the need for "justice" inflamed me. Today I can only feel pity and terror and I pray to God to put an end to this carnage. I suffer for the wretched Hungarians even. Friday – music. You know, I have already told you so in my thoughts, of the Maestro's
expression when he sat in front of the radio, listening to Ciomac's presentation of him to France. He was seated in Maruca's bed, head in palms, then his hands clenched into fists, with a glare of a royal bird in his eye. Composing himself as if for prayer, I sensed his interest as if it were a major occurrence, not because he himself was the object of the speech, but, because he was being presented to France. With content, he noticed Ciomac, at the close of the conference, dubbing him a pre-war and contemporary fighter for justice.
He was hearkening with a solemnity that spoke volumes of his true nature. Humble, crouched up, fists raised to his mouth, he was listening while his masters, Queen Elisabeta and Princess [Martha] Bibescu were being mentioned. During the conference, he told Maruca that, at last, they spoke of Princess [Martha] Bibescu, while others kept forgetting her. His eyes captured the dim light with fluorescent-green sparks, betraying a metallic consistency. His pose struck me as he stood, be-humbled and attentive, the haunting image of a Romanian rustic lost in deep thoughts. Such a massively human demeanor! I watched him in shudders while he shrank and shrank. Meanwhile, Maruca was straightening up her gate, more and more triumphant. I love to see them in such a unison. I love them, as wholeheartedly as I admire them. May God keep them in good health and may He bless them!A pleasant event: Jean Paul graduated cum laude
: the boy seems to have changed, doesn't show any signs of nervousness or roughness. He has lightened up. February 17th
Little darling, I haven't written you on account of the book, which required toil, evening in, evening out. It was a month of pure hackwork. Today I handed in the manuscript. At long last! I feel hugely relieved. There are still the closing remarks left. I would like them in a Western wording. The illness was a true blessing – a little loneliness, tranquility, intense work, constantly, time to muse. The Lord, indeed, knows what He fares. I'm filled with bliss, with self-conciliation: a feeling that I could join the realm of the righteous in a clear conscience. I reckon there are more of you dear to me "over there" than here. Events rapidly succeed one upon another – Hitler is a demon, poor Germany will not shake it off without a revolution; it is merely a matter of time.Here, the toad-eaters try to keep the public opinion in check, but with little effect. I think a new opinion is emerging. Peril has proven convenient, it is eye-opening. The common people have begun to weigh things out and reflect: it now stands to reason that, here, communism is out of place. The outskirts have become politically oriented, the popular opinion is poignantly accurate, but I fear a massive wave of anti-Semitism. This time, it would be the doing of the Jews themselves! I've been conversing with Vianu[iii]. He is an immensely elegant and kind person. Kindly admits the interlocutor into a righteous elite. He has been indelibly humanized by culture. Only seldom does one encounter men of such distinction: the full spirituality of Israel, accompanied by the whole of Christian generosity. He is very dear to me. I regretfully cannot seize the entire scope and scale of political events in the world. I sense huge impending phenomena, but they stay out of my grasp, for one simple reason: I don't know B from battleground or diplomacy. Nevertheless, if the winning countries intended to behave humanly towards the vanquished, if, in the future, the defeated nations were allowed to recover in peace, not being pressured with threats and terror, if "Europe" would come into being… What of the social claims? I find them highly legitimate. In our land, the well-behaved are still the common, but how to rid oneself of the toadies? They are the pest. Still, it is a good thing we only have them instead of monsters like Hitler & Co. Regardless of that, today I was seized with grief at the sight of a Hitler cartoon: for someone who has disrupted the pace of the world to fall into such a sorry state, is lamentable. I wonder: Does Hitler have a tragic condition? The outrageous scale of disaster would entitle him to such an affiliation, but I fear he is no more than a human beast. May the Lord give him the taste of self-sacrifice that he henceforth spare millions of lives. Then alone, he could be remembered as the tragically-fated one. February 24th
Little darling, today is a turning point. The DNF[iv] have resorted to les grands moyens,
and I think, in their own prejudice. Today, 10 o'clock PM, Rădescu held a speech; with tremendous nerve, he spoke about the reprobate A. Pauker and Luca, the lacklands and godless, and stigmatized the acts of anarchy committed. Two shots had been fired at the Palace, more at Internal Affairs, and they had even tried to carry the Prefect's Office. Bravo! The old soldier has nerve. I hope we'll see the responses tomorrow; traitors and toad-eaters must understand they shall not rule this country. It's the legionary thing all over again, except these now are a handful and don't impact on the people as the greencoats, whose mystique was catchy. The new ones capitalize on the material profit mobile, and would, of course, succeed, if this nation (the army) hadn't realized first-hand in Russia, that the state of things is a far cry from the proclaimed ideal. I was looking out the window today, watching many perfectly indifferent soldiers among the ranks, eyeing the passing-by columns with distraction, as if they were madmen, children eager to play. Some of those died, poor fellows! Not the DNF people, the others – shot by communists. Could they have been members of the self-same group, puppeteered by a strong-arm tactic, that ending up clamoring for order and country? At the sight of the onslaught, when I heard people screaming their way out of the range of machine guns, although it was as clear as day that blind bullets were used, when I saw them crossing themselves upon running by a holy church, I smilingly regained my composition. This is a nation that they want to kneel down, by all means. The nation they are "determined to corrupt", in the wording of Mişu. Moreover, when I learned that some of the women had received the Holy Eucharist – today prior to the demonstration – I was overwhelmed by a feeling of tenderness for these quiet and kind people. Florica serves as a typical example. Although commonly gentle and peaceful, today she went into a tantrum, yelling through the closed window: "Go home and mind your own business, you fools", etc. and, at the height of her rage, she cried out: "You'll be in deep shit if you don't go home!" (I'm still laughing at this one.) Then she stood in stupor, afraid of the word that had slipped her mouth in my presence, asking for forgiveness. O, help us, Lord! With such a sound-minded people as ours, we shall not perish even if the toad-eaters completely infiltrated us. I'm positive that if elections were held tomorrow, all the curs would go down, except for communists and opportunists. The hard-line aficionados, I respect, perhaps not "feelingly", but billionaire Groza[v], Dej[vi] and the like should be ashamed of themselves. I'm not cross with the Jews, as they have always been strangers to the land; it was we alone who, unfortunately enough, provided the opportunity. But for native Romanians to commit such atrocities as in legionary times, or to sell and betray their fatherland, as now? Tut-tut! Only God can give them their just measure. March 3rd
Dear, tragic events have unfolded these days, I dare to call them tragic – for so they are for the Romanian people. The nerve and dignity sported by Rădescu were met by a new Russian strategy; the enemies had long been on the watch, waiting for the perfect moment that would justify their move in the eyes of the allied forces. I had nourished the hope that, if backed by the allies, he would keep his chair. But then came along Vyshinsky, they say he pounded the table in the presence of the His Royal Highness, then he smashed the door so furiously it unhinged, then the King wished to leave, all in all: a disaster! The Russians left us barehanded, in sending our troops on the front! I'm in an incessant state of disgust; were it not for my trust in God and our nation, I could hardly live through these times. The beau geste
of a faction of the officers, of entire regiments, among which the Redcoats
, gives me comfort, in spite of my many troubling thoughts. Those people wouldn't surrender their arms, and, at the threat of being sent straight away to the front, preferred to do so, without having even parted with their wives, parents or children! Fine gestures of this nature reveal a superlative human conduct, and deserve to be placed among "the most chic" gestures in history. I wouldn't call them "sublime", as I'd be afraid to be a prophet of evil. I am constantly praying to Our Lord and the Holy Virgin to protect them and bring them home, unscorched by the fire into which they shall step, poor wretches. Ever since the Russians have committed their last transgressions of the basic rights of a nation which, under the German sword, had helped them in good faith for six months and discharged itself morally to the full, thus repaying for all they had borrowed, ever since, not only do I fear the Russians, but have I lost any hope that they could ever be generous and honest neighbors. As for the acolytes, what else can we feel towards those except the most painful disgust? The DNF members, those ruthless, mindless specimens, I would leave into the hands of fate. If it's governing they wanted, let them take responsibility for it! Let them compromise themselves before human kind and history! But, we cannot abandon the brave and dignified lad on the front, without the benefit of a worthy councilor! Traditional parties should sacrifice their own people, to protect those youths from treachery. As for the English and the Americans, what can be said? Nothing, for now… Even if they were in the position to do so, they would not sacrifice their interests over our own! They didn't do that for Poland, to which they were morally indebted! The hideousness of mankind, dear! You were in the right. One cannot even live reclusely in a barrel, as Diogenes did. It is cowardly nowadays not to engage in the battle. As an act of protest, I have enlisted for membership to the Liberal Party. I can but do what I have done to this day: take the floor, bring people back to reason, set them in motion, not for the sake of political struggle, but, for the awakening of the female conscience. Christians are the only ones who can salvage the land. Scânteia
[vii] reads catchphrases like: "Show no mercy when you strike!" They address the young people. Damnation! The Nazis are lured by the call of death. The world has gone mad. April 3rd
Dear old chap, I haven't been writing – neglect, boredom, an alienation from the current events are to blame for that. These are happenings that shall be told by history. Perhaps they will be shown in their true light. All I can see are puny, mean, hideous people. Perhaps I'm mistaken. Maybe a character like Pătrăşcanu[viii] is a man of convictions, but I doubt his actions are rooted in love for the fatherland. Despoiling holders of properties: that has been done with his knowing consent… I cannot hate anybody. Youths are wholesome, heroic, resist the temptation of communism; Russians are very amiable people, taken individually. I crave reconciliation and brotherhood. Mai 1st
Haven't been writing for a long time, dear; I'd been running out of blank sheets, but had grown weary of what was happening, as well. Suppose it isn't worth dwelling on such horror and horridness. I am revolted at what is happening here. Expropriation is not the only thing nagging at me, but the nastiness of its course, the pettiness of people involved who, at all costs, want to kill prosperity, or, aptly put, the more civilized social class. I am consternated at the envy and hatred of a handful of people, and at the exploitation, both material and moral, of this wretched people. Today, the protest meeting would have been grandiose and soul-uplifting, had we not known that, behind all this, lie the schemes of enemies who want to confiscate our freedom. I believe I have told you often that, in my eyes, Russians are, in their way, lovable. But their policy is perfidious, and "our commies" are heinous. Today I learned how to make room for new feelings. I, who abhor the masses, today looked upon them with affection. In my heart, I am glad that those who toil with their hands finally get their rights; if only I could, I would relish working side by side with them, as I do with my students; I would like to instill them the love for beauty and faith in Our Lord. But, the "manipulators" drive me into destitution: I think they're complete hypocrites. How much good could be done unto them, and, even, the great things they could do, if a spiritual awakening befell them. This aspect should be carefully put under observation and counteracted by prayers. Little darling, today I find myself more reconciled with what I would call: "politbureaucracy". Indeed, I'm revolted by buttering-uppers and I am at times surprised by my wish for retaliation. But I've come to develop a soft spot for the crowds, for the commonsensical people, who are backing hard-line "progressivism" – it is the nerve of those young Jews who want a customized future, that I won't condone. What about Dr. Medeea Niculescu and other persons of that caliber, who, after marching into the Legion, are, at present, also insinuating themselves into the ministry led by Antonescu. The nerve of these opportunists and occupational arrivistes infuriates me. Face to face with such creatures, maybe I might get ruthless. Not only would I lock them away, but a device should be invented to strip them of their fathomless ambitions and cheek. But – why should we take their sins upon ourselves, if God will take care of them. The end of Mussolini and Hitler (even if the news of his death is premature) are eye-opening: they clearly reveal a divine plan. Finally, people will understand that it is not their petty schemes, but a governing mind that counts, in the end. In spite of all that, since I know them to be dead or in a wretched state, I can only find commiseration in my heart for them and pray to Our Lord for their forgiveness. Truthfully speaking, without the help of the ensnared masses, they could not have brought about a disaster of such proportions. May God forgive us all, take mercy on us and redeem us even now. Without His Grace we are lost beyond retrieve. Without Him we are mere beasts. I was immensely impressed by Olga Greceanu's conference and, above all, the image of Our Savior. I don't think it is an apocryphal work, the expression on the face is too unique, too supreme, to have been thought by a human mind. There is such grief in the face of Jesus crucified, that this couldn't be the work of human hands. I was transfigured into reenacting the same emotion in class, the following day. Mady said she had felt in seventh heaven, that a sudden communion among them had been conjured up. May 4th, Good Friday
Little darling, I grieved today, as if I had lost you for the second time! Mr. Malaxa informed me he needed the apartment. I am sure he will provide me with another dwelling, as good as the previous, but it will never be the same: I will not feel your presence in the home, like I have, over the past years. This seems to me a terrible parting, as if I left the country by myself, with you behind. So far, no matter how many times we'd moved out, we stayed together. Now, I have an acute sense of loneliness. Jean Paul is like my own child, but he doesn't take me seriously, like you did, when I'm in pain. Darling, I suffer, being so humiliated in life not to afford to pay the rent! I'm being punished for my pride. I didn't use to ask for money, not even from you, and now I am being supported by strangers! May the Lord bless Malaxa for the kindness he has shown towards me and others. The spending he must undergo now, that some of us are moving out! All my life I've craved "independence", and now, I'm growing more and more vulnerable. Had I been on my own, without the boy, I would have been forced to rent a room at friends' or live at The Social Boarding School. I would have had to sell the excessive furniture, content myself with little. But the sudden news caught me off-guard. Now, in the evening, I have become more serene, after the Requiem, but the episode at the cemetery and immediately after had covered me with grief. O, how thoughtless of us! From the work of our hands we could have managed a small house, no matter how modest. Now, others have to worry for my upkeep. I also have a part in this, as I never was energetic enough, o, the airhead that I was. When I finally had something in mind at a certain point with the Board of Teachers, it was you who didn't go along with it. 1959 February 20th
Stello, dear, I'm writing on a loose sheet as I am in no possession of a notebook. Negligence, perpetual lack of money. I have to say that I'm sorry Linca and Bubi are leaving, I had taken very much to them. I know I shall never see them again. Such partings are sisters of death. Still – one can always write. One shares the same planet with them. If we knew beyond any doubt we could communicate with you, as well, life would be completely different! More of it, in the evening. Now I must prepare for little Nana's bedtime story. Love, yours, A. February 21th
Today was sad, dear. I thought it was parting with Linca and the doctor that had shrouded my soul in a thick veil of mist. But, perhaps it was also the foreboding of the horrible accident that took away our beloved Madam Hurmuzescu! The news struck me to the heart. I had been constantly thinking about her recently and intended to pay her my respects, but couldn't get myself to dress up and go out. I never even rang her up. And I'm so terribly sorry. Last evening I went by, and such a crowd had gathered, that had loved and would miss her. C'était une vraie dame.
Sharp and lucid, kind and understanding, and always in the picture. She was reading enormously and always passed perfectly legitimate judgments. I sensed her to be the last link to the stolen past of my generation. Maybe the others have enthroned me as "the last of the Mohicans" now. But I so lack the attributes of "the Lady". I was more of a "worker", my role was less aristocratic. This is the very thing that dies out along with her passing! Then – her refined and colored, agreeably-ironic sense of humor! We shall miss you much, dear Madam! May God impart eternal light upon you and may you rejoice in the Kingdom of Heaven!Linca's departing for good has also wrapped me in a sick melancholy. Never before had I been so much in need of a youthful, lively presence, who should have shielded off the nevermore
perspective in my existence. It was a physical need to forget death and the irretrievable. All the night through I tried to fight off the terrible memory of Madame Hurmuzescu's tragic end, and pretended I had taken refuge on Linca's train.I've always traveled with her in spirit and now: we're at the gates of Budapest! I'm listening to a beautiful suite of Enescu at the moment, and I require your presence. All of you "there", please receive Madam Hurmuzescu befittingly and guide her throughout the undiscover'd country. There are times when I question my faith, terrified by the prospect of a possible non-existence of Heaven. Those are moments of weakness, of lack of spiritual energy. Then, I start praying vigorously, regain my senses and set about writing.
That's the only sensible part left for me to play. But today, I would like to rid myself of this terrible grief locked up inside. I detest nothingness. Mimy Spandonidi called me up.Her clear voice was a blessing. I'd like to phone little Victor; I worry about him. We shall have to regroup our forces, stick together! In merely ten days we've lost: Sina, Dame Amalia M., Mizzi Donabassy, Alfred Alessandrescu, Madam Hurmuzescu! That's one too many!Stelu dear, come in my dream and scold me. Geo Bogza said he'd drop by. Interesting youth, but not in a cheerful way, I believe.Hopefully, Marietta will restore me back to reason, her voluntary optimism and all.Love, Yours, A. March 17th
I stopped making daily notes, in the disbelief that they would, objectively, be of interest to anybody. You see, it was not out of lack of thoughts or time. As far as I am concerned, I'm in a permanent communication with you. In truth, I am so beyond real life, this, that is unfolding at the moment! My notes thereof would be so trite. Psychological observations? Perhaps to prove my sagacity? To what avail! The large events have outgrown me, I cannot pass judgments there. I only sense we are going through memorable changes. The findings in science, the space shuttles, the news beamed from interplanetary space are of availing interest – unfortunately enough, I fail to seize their significance. The only thing I experience at the moment is the expansion of the human ego. This is what "proto-molecules" must sense prior to actual biological life. I've had a long-wearing interest in the essence of life and this intuitive thought there might be an analogy to nuclear physics. I'm trying to capture my thoughts in writing. The problem seems correctly posed. But I cannot hope to read the riddle: isn't life and conscience more of an abysmal issue? In reality, I'm concerned with these realities for one reason – the fundamental question: What is there after death? I would not doubt the survival of death, as you provided me with hard evidence in this respect, therefore, I am a believer.
But I should wish to penetrate your world with my mind, even if it were a glimpse at the gateways. Last night, I ravaged through mama's treasure chest, found letters that had belonged to Sterică, mama, Iancu. You were so present in me, that I cannot part from you. Isn't it remarkable that life today has to me a long lost consistency; perhaps I had perceived it against a canvas of caducous meanness. Bridging over to bygones has opened up a new dimension in my existence, enlivening it. I have to leave for lunch. Take care, A. May 6th
What happened to Marius and Lulu has completely upset me. For days and days I'd been disgusted by the hatred and hard-headedness people are capable of. Why bring an honest person into disrepute? Now my rage has settled down. I've meditated. Although I am repulsed at the idea of punishment, I have to admit that the reunions at Miliţa [Petraşcu]'s[ix] residence were a gross mistake. A beneficiary of privileges shouldn't speak ill of the master who bestows those privileges. Marius is a loyal character, so he didn't do it, but he should have forbidden Lulu and her entourage to do so. It is a fact that Lulu doesn't care about politics, I've never heard her mention the subject. I'm sure she's innocent in this respect and that she had to go down for different sins, altogether. Alas, everything is eye-for-an-eye! I wish from my heart of hearts that this, indeed, terrible lesson, make her think about her duties as far as she and her husband and children are concerned. We all are sinners and wretches, with or without our knowing, and nothing stays unpunished. I remember you saying that in one of my dreams. The other evening I watched "The Would-Be Gentleman", a filmed production of a performance by the French Theatre of Comedy. A terrible Paris-nostalgia took hold of me. I don't imagine being able to travel henceforth, in fact, I wouldn't want to be out of the country for more than two or three months. With all that, I confess: the sadness of nevermore
pervades my being like a subtle poison, paralyzing any twitch of joy or hope. Beneficent chat with Alecu [Paleologu]; inwardly, he has grown tremendously. I discovered in him a sense of justice and an impartiality he had been lacking until now, and then – his tenderness for Romanianness… The love for one's fatherland: there might still be an atavistic trace of self-centeredness left in this emotion. Two hundred years ahead, perhaps, people could be considering it with amusement, as if it were an immense forgone judgment. Nonetheless: as long as it is a natural phenomenon to love one's parents, loving one's fatherland is every bit as legitimate. I hold the firm belief that we are spared the grief that is common under exiles! I am probing into the depths of my soul. I wonder if this acceptance of a status-quo, conjunct with a would-be journey in the prospective case of an East-West détente, aren't hindered by the helplessness of old age? With my mouth I utter: "I wish I went on a journey", but I lack the actual energy; in fact, I have grown accustomed to limited spaces. Even a harmless stroll to the lakes or in the Park of Cişmigiu seems like a great strain. I am old, my dear. It would require tremendous bliss to lure me back to life. May 18th
Things are going the wrong way! My feet are swelling. My eyes are bad, my money is scarce, and, in matters of the soul, I'm flat broke! I need a spur, a glimpse of hope, a ray of joy. In the absence of all that, I'm even content with a nice feature film as a substitute. Yesterday, I went to the pictures with Mariana and Ion Murnu, to see Ivan the Terrible
. A grand production. If compared to theatre, cinema has endless means and contraptions. What has emerged here is no longer a traditional theatrical art form. It is a new genre altogether. Whereas dramatic composition has sought to place the characters in various social-psychological contexts, cinema re-introduces them to nature, to their social milieu, possibly even to their cosmic dimension. This constitutes a dilation of the environment that, in its turn, triggers a dilation of the human agent to fit the new perspective. A synergy of plastic arts, music and spoken text takes place. The latter is far more brief, simple and true-to-life than a drama text; in theatre, poetry conjures up a second reality, eclipsing the genuine point of departure. On screen, the scanned word is replaced by the bodily expression. It is, in a way, both a painting and a sculpture of genius, therefore requiring a complex effort on the part of the actor – as opposed to the stage, whereon the script prevails. If we take Shakespeare, for example: cinema can only complement what already exists. The classical theatre, in the Ancient and Renaissance periods, comes to mind. I'm not in the clear as to their impact, but I think that plays like Romeo and Juliet
tend to make a lesser impression on me because poetry there is obscured by the realness of scenery. It's the same with Richard
, which, nevertheless, moved me deeply, from a plastic point of view. A new art form has emerged that is fashioned upon the new facets of the modern human. Does this togetherness of acts reflect the contemporary soul? In any of cases, the presence of the large masses
can be rendered on the screen, and addresses a genuine craving of the soul for such images. From a poetic
angle, nevertheless, the film is a setback. But as in Antiquity, when man had to be grown apart from the mythical reality to gain a moral perspective,
in present times, the multitude has to be raised in a new ethical light, one in which the individual identifies him-/herself with humankind, globally. The problem, as it is posed in theatre, receives an intellectual answer; as it is posed in cinema, finds a straightly-sentimental, intuitive resolve. In fact, cinema can touch millions, whereas the scope of theatre is limited. At "The Would-Be Gentleman", I witnessed a spectacle: But we require a theatre of our age.
Why draw upon the past to solve present aches? What is the new man
after? Claudel gives a clear-cut answer: reaching spirituality.
My eyes are weary, dear. I have to go. The day before yesterday, when I was having lunch at The Academic's Club, I attended an enjoyable conference on the beginnings of Romanian theatre. Illustrations were made from Negruzzi[x] and Alecsandri[xi]. Simple, unsophisticatedly honest – essential in the maturing of "the Romanian perspective". I left with an endearing-admiring aftertaste for those who had unrelentingly and goal-consciously fought for the liberation of the Romanian mind and soul. I think that now we are in need of such writers who, aware of our sins, mindless of social class, would point the way to the "modern Romanian", freed of nationalism and chauvinism, a universal man à la roumaine.
I had a few remarks jotted down on this issue in "Our Humanism". June 30th
Darling, today is your birthday. You have turned 74 years young. This determination of yours of staying mature instead of growing old: in fact, you could have never been truly ancient! We, the others, pretend we aren't that: fact is, my eyes are betraying me, I've lost my hearing, my waist is ungainly, and my soul cannot take off, in the absence of hope. I'm taking things for what they are, call a spade a spade, I seize the nearing of doom. Thus, henceforth I shall not struggle to better and enrich my homely contraptions and bodily adornments. The only things of any interest whatsoever seem to be Romanian history and literature. I am visited by remorse for knowing so little in these fields of study. My life was wasted over sterile philosophizing. Now, it is late to set off probing into our past, that is so dear to me. Alecsandri's Life
by Mrs. Pogoneanu has enchanted me; I'm filled with a humble shame as I see how many accurate data she has come up with, the time and amount of work she must have put into her work, whereas my humble person could not even produce as much as a booklet on our past. That is an unforgivable deficiency in my life. Speaking of which, now, as I browse through my notes and conference presentations, I find: I have been a terrible, second-rate scholar, at least to my own standards. Maybe I was more of a "human" figure. Maybe there was some value attached to that aspect. But dear, what's the use of such tender self-criticism? I should at least brush up a few of my works! In the world of beyond, you will receive me, stripped of my luggage, and you will not judge me for what I know, nor for what I might have done useful, but for what I am.
Whether I'm a silly goose or a Jane-a-napes or a scholar, is of no avail. In the word of thought, I will occupy the place I merit. Some claim that my presence does them well. Maybe that was my role in this life. I wasn't driven by any ambitions, very much like yourself. I abhorred being what they call "pushy", or "worming my way up". […] Today, I feel anew that my hour has come: I wouldn't want to go, but, if necessary, if this is part of the grand plan, I willingly accept. The hard fact is that hereafter, life does not hold any promises for me, I can well understand that I fall into the category of cultural bygones. […] Few days ago, nice chat with two young ladies over lunch. Very instructive. Clever, profession-oriented, convinced of their calling as teachers (secondary school education – Arts School) and very much imbued with Marxism. Especially the Latinist seemed a very clear and critical head. […] They were impressed with my objectiveness. I thank God for letting it unaltered, so that I could seize what was good about the present régime, as well. When I see that others defame it, I realize that it can be all attributed to personal spites. I am countered with the present state of poverty, lack of freedom, existing prisons. Naturally, I am aware of all that, but, upon occasional documenting into our past, I can read the same lack of liberal ideas into the latter. From what I understand, there is an entire school now, claiming discipline and the transcending of individuality, and attempting to cultivate the vein of social awareness. I am surprised at how people do not see the benefit of initiatives of the "patriotic action" type, as something wholesome and meant to render social-minded youths. To my mind, young people are much more mature these days, in this respect. […] September 26th
Dear, it's no use putting pen to paper since our minds are in perfect unison. Huge events are unfolding at present: from the man on the moon to the talks today at Camp David which may prove fateful to the world. On both occasions, I sense I cannot longer resonate therewith as I might have done by your side. Camp David. My debility in understanding should be ascribed to my scientific and political illiteracy. Or, is it perhaps attributable to an age deficiency? Differently, the arrival of Dupront and Dard, on the eve of the 23rd
of August, at The French Institute, in Bucharest, has set me in vibration with the event! The cultural atmosphere I had been living in for several days had awakened a mental ebullience in me, an appetite for pensiveness
, for exploring and reflecting, that translated into a bodily rejuvenation. The sympathy of these old friends […] also helped me put things into perspective; their utterances provided a sane standard for my conscience. In the evening, at the legation, I […] felt I was stirring sympathies. I also felt that a certain "reputation", of which I feel more or less worthy, and which lent me a certain amount of prestige, had preceded me. […]Great tribulations over the predicament of Alecu Paleologu[xii], Barbu Slătineanu[xiii] and Vladimir Streinu[xiv]. My hands all are tied: all I can do is to pray for them. On Thursday night, the true meaning of prayer was revealed to me. Je tirais sur la Sainte Vierge avec désespoir.
I beseech you, Mişu and all of you departed ones, to preserve and help them through this ordeal which I ask you to end, if it can be done. I am beginning to understand that there are happenings which may serve the souls on trial to clear themselves from imperfection. The only thing required is faith. I'm not certain why I'm vibrant with faith in a change for the better. Could it be my unrelenting, light-minded optimism? I fear for Maricica, that she doesn't have an adequate response to opprobrium. To withstand a public humiliation requires a large amount of Selbstbewusstsein
, i.e. "self-awareness". This would prove helpful in the face of undeserved accusations and in reaction to the idle mouth of the public in our country, that only see the straw in the other's eye! I feel sorry for her […]. September 29th
My dear, in reading the daily on the most recent summit at Camp David and in Washington, I was gripped by a strong hope. The latter is reminiscent of the principles underlying the Oxford Group, a method of honest deliberation among opponents. I seize an impending détente. I can foretell the doomful remarks of "professional croakers". I don't intend to be on talking terms with those who are unwilling to rise past their own interests, grieves and losses. There is one great expectation, for my part: that those imprisoned for their ideas should be freed and that any infant, regardless of class, should be granted the right to education. That the battle against the innocent be ceased. I pray to Our Lord to open the hearts of everybody towards general understanding, so that hate die out amongst ourselves. That the restless fault-finders, who deem themselves heroic, fall silent. This should put a stop to the severity of the regime being blown out of proportions. […] 1961 January 3rd
[…] From November 26th
on, I have been entertaining the illusion that the beloved ones and the political prisoners would be released. Now we have outlived all the moments that might have addressed our expectations. Anew ensues an age of abandonment of all hopes. I am sure to cling to any passing rumor claiming that, still, they might be released. Is this intellectual frivolity? Is this, I may ask, a light-heartedness of the soul? An unwillingness to embrace impending events? To live life as it comes? The refusal to accept agony as an absolute reality? A legitimate reality, akin to joy, both relative to life. I have suspected for some time my optimism to be a form of faint-heartedness in the face of reality. "Good or bad, lovely or fierce" – those are sentimental descriptions of life. Life is nothing but life; we should embrace it without an attached set of values.[…]