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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Casting for a Part in Life

“Friendship is a difficult, dangerous job. It is also (though we rarely admit it) extremely exhausting.” – Elizabeth Bibesco

The daughter of WWI-era British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, Elizabeth was born in England on this date in 1897 and died in Romania during WWII after having married into royalty in the country of Romania.  From 1921-40, Elizabeth wrote three collections of short stories, four novels, two plays and a book of poetry.  A second poetry book was published posthumously after the war.

Both friends and rivals with writers Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, she also was one of the few people who called reclusive writer Marcel Proust a close friend.  At the time of his death (in 1922) she wrote a moving obituary for Proust in the New Statesman and her words there were a great example of her writing style. "Gently, deliberately, he drew me into that magic circle of his personality with the ultimate sureness of a look that needs no touch to seal it. Insensibly you were drawn into that intricate cobweb of iridescent steel, his mind, which, interlacing with yours, spread patterns of light and shade over your most intimate thoughts."

 Her insights into life and human nature come through loud and clear in the words that permeated her writings.  “Talk about the joys of the unexpected, can they compare with the joys of the expected,” Bibesco wrote.  “Of finding everything delightfully and completely what you knew it was going to be?”       “To others, we are not ourselves, but a performer in their lives, cast for a part (in life) we do not even know that we are playing.”

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