The fate of Monica Lovinescu had something like an ancient tragedy. Banished, condemned, attacked, stigmatized, faced with the loss of her own mother (a mother murdered by the democratic people’s regime to pay for her daughter’s sins), Monica Lovinescu maintained for decades the inflexibility with which she refused to compromise with dirty things.

Ivan StanomirPhoto: Personal archive


And if E. Lovinescu had ambitions to be a priest of Romanian literature, performing his master’s work with the devotion of an ascetic, then Monica Lovinescu during the years of communism was the keeper of collective memory, a fragile being who critically embodied the spirit that tyranny wanted to drive away, through sounds caisson march.

Between father and daughter, due to the play of post-war fate, a continuity of discreet participation in the intellectual vocation arose: the figure of E. Lovinescu, rarely mentioned, out of modesty, watched over the one who was completing her mandate as the custodian of the language and style of being. Monica Lovinescu’s East-East is an improvement on Lovinescu’s hypothesis.

The pages of E. Lovinescu refer to the radio chronicle of Monica Lovinescu. The firmness with which E. Lovinescu attacked ethnic aberrations foreshadows the fragile precision of Monica Lovinescu’s campaigns against communism, which embraces protochronism. Mayoresque by vocation and sobriety of the text, Monica Lovinescu crosses the totalitarian century, without the slag of intellectual wanderings settling on her work. Like Pompiliu Constantinescu, Monica Lovinescu did not abandon her duty: the magistracy of the chronicle meant respecting the rigor and importance of tradition.

Monica Lovinescu was given to build herself in a marble block of voice. Captured Romania had before it the sound image of another Romania. The story of “Free Europe” for Monica Lovinescu and for one with her, Virgil Jerunka, is the story of trying to say what others can no longer articulate as truth, crushed by tyranny or seduced by complicity.

The brand that carried the message to the other shore, communist Romania, the brand that collected the permanence of the vocation, the brand that felt the pain of exile but also the hope of freedom, the brand that challenged the amnesia of conscience, this former Monica Lovinescu, until her last moment gave

Writing so many times about Oleksandr Solenitin and Nadia Mandelstam, Monica Lovinescu wrote about this voice that became: the memory of the entire nation is guarded by those whom Ceausescu’s security service identified as a target for assassination. From the Russian space, which she (again) visited with insight, Monica Lovinescu brought this burden of the obligation to testify. Her voice had to stand out to redeem the silence of many voices.

And perhaps for modern people, Monica Lovinescu can be remembered as this voice that faced tyranny. The word melted into phrases that reached the country: Monica Lovinescu’s style was born from this unique closeness with an audience that was suspected, seen, felt outside the walls of the Soviet camp. It was a dialogue that never stopped, or it was a conversation woven from courage and emotion, from ethical assumptions and from the melancholy of distance.

In the centennial anniversary, this voice comes to us memorable and alive, because Monica Lovinescu has nothing of the immobility of a statue’s pedestal. Her campaigns are also our campaigns, because the totalitarian temptation is not in the past, but in the future. Her voice rings out with the same clarity as it did decades ago. _

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