Monica Lovinescu

Monica Lovinescu (November 19, 1923, Bucharest – April 20, 2008, Paris) was a Romanian essayist, short story writer, literary critic, translator, and journalist, noted for her activities as an opponent of the Romanian Communist regime.

Daughter of literary figure Eugen Lovinescu, Monica was born in Bucharest. Having graduated from the University of Bucharest, she obtained in 1947 a scholarship from the French Government. Only a few months later, after Romania was declared a Popular Republic, Monica Lovinescu asked for political asylum and settled in Paris. A close friend of Ionesco, Cioran and Mircea Eliade who come alive in her memoirs published in Bucharest. Throughout her life Lovinescu was active as a journalist and broadcaster, waging an unequal war against the Communist oppression in Romania and elsewhere.

From 1951 to 1975, she is the Romanian correspondent of the French Overseas broadcasting in Romanian language on Literature and Music. From 1967 she presents at Radio Free Europe the cycle “Teze şi antiteze la Paris” and the “Actualitatea culturală românească”, which enjoy a huge audience in Romania. These attract the attention of Romania’s secret services as a result of which Monica Lovinescu becomes the target of the Securitate operatives in Paris, is roughed up on the doorstep of her flat and receives threats and hate calls. This leaves Monica Lovinescu shaken but even more determined in waging her crusade with the pen and the microphone against the indomitable Ceauşescu, for a long time the “darling of the West”.

She published several works under the pseudonyms Monique Saint-Come and Claude Pascal, and was married to the literary critic Virgil Ierunca. She published extensively on the subject of communism in her country, as well as works on Romanian literature. Her articles were frequently featured in prestigious magazines such as Kontinent, Les Cahiers de l'Est, and L'Alternative. She contributed the Romanian chapter of the collection of essays titled Histoire des spectacles (published by Éditions Gallimard). In recognition of her life-long contribution to the Romanian political and Cultural Life, Monica Lovinescu was honored by the Romanian Presidency with the Order of the Grand Cross of Romania.