Prodan Romanian Cultural Foundation
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
+44 (0) 20 7831 9905
17redlionsquare@gmail.com

 

Matila Ghyka
(1881-1965) Philosopher, Essayist, and Novelist

Prince Matila Costiesco Ghyka (born Matila Costiescu), K.C.V.O., M.C. , was a poet, novelist, mathematician, historian, and diplomat, and the Romanian Plenipotentiary Minister in the United Kingdom during the late 1930s and until 1940. His first name is sometimes written as Matyla.

He was born in Ia┼či, the former capital of Moldavia, of the Ghica family of boyars. On his mother's side he was the great-grandson of Grigore Alexandru Ghica, last reigning Prince of Moldavia before the union of the Danubian Principalities.

He first studied at the Jesuit Maritime College of Jersey (where he passed his matriculation when only 14), then at the French Naval Academy in Brest, at the High School of Electricity in Paris, and finally at the Faculty of Law of Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he took his doctorate magna cum laude. He joined the diplomatic service in 1910, being stationed at the Romanian Legations in Rome, Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Vienna, Stockholm (as Minister Plenipotentiary) and twice again in London between 1936-1938 and between 1939 and 1940.


In 1918, at the Brompton Oratory, he married Eileen O'Conor, daughter of the late Sir Nicholas Roderick O'Conor (d. 1908), the former British Ambassador to Istanbul and Saint Petersburg, and Minna Margaret Hope-Scott. During his first diplomatic assignments in London and Paris, Prince Ghyka was introduced by Paul Morand and Prince Antoine Bibesco to the English and French literary circles. He became a friend of Marcel Proust and a "piéton de Paris" with the poet Léon-Paul Fargue. A frequent visitor of Natalie Clifford Barney's literary salon, he also met most of the American "exiled" writers of the 1920s, but his chief interest was always the synthesis of high mathematics and poetry.

After World War II, Ghyka fled Communist Romania, and was visiting professor of aesthetics in the United States, at the University of Southern California and at the Mary Washington College, Virginia. An unassuming scholar, he took a mild interest in politics. His memoirs, which were published in 1961 under the title The World Mine Oyster, concluded with a confident message on the indestructibility of humanism.

Prince Ghyka died in London and was survived by his son, Prince Roderick Ghyka, and daughter, Princess Maureen Ghyka. He was predeceased by his wife Eileen on February 10, 1963. Both Prince Matyla and Princess Eileen are buried in Gunnersbury Cemetery in London.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Matila Ghyka', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 October 2008, 18:29 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Matila_Ghyka&oldid=247814453>


Matila Ghyka - Le Nombre D'or

Matila Ghyka and his wife

Matila Ghyka and his family