Mircea Eliade

Mircea Eliade (Romanian: [ˈmirt͡ʃe̯a eliˈade]; March 13 [O.S. February 28] 1907 – April 22, 1986) was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day. His theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, has proved influential.[1] One of his most instrumental contributions to religious studies was his theory of eternal return, which holds that myths and rituals do not simply commemorate hierophanies, but, at least to the minds of the religious, actually participate in them.[1]

Mircea Eliade
Born(1907-03-13)March 13, 1907
Bucharest, Kingdom of Romania
DiedApril 22, 1986(1986-04-22) (aged 79)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Resting placeOak Woods Cemetery
OccupationHistorian, philosopher, short story writer, journalist, essayist, novelist
United States
GenreFantasy, autobiography, travel literature
SubjectHistory of religion, philosophy of religion, cultural history, political history
Literary movementModernism
ParentsGheorghe Eliade
Jeana née Vasilescu

His literary works belong to the fantastic and autobiographical genres. The best known are the novels Maitreyi ('La Nuit Bengali' or 'Bengal Nights'), Noaptea de Sânziene ('The Forbidden Forest'), Isabel și apele diavolului ('Isabel and the Devil's Waters'), and Romanul Adolescentului Miop ('Novel of the Nearsighted Adolescent'); the novellas Domnișoara Christina ('Miss Christina') and Tinerețe fără tinerețe ('Youth Without Youth'); and the short stories Secretul doctorului Honigberger ('The Secret of Dr. Honigberger') and La Țigănci ('With the Gypsy Girls').

Early in his life, Eliade was a journalist and essayist, a disciple of Romanian philosopher and journalist Nae Ionescu, and a member of the literary society Criterion. In the 1940s, he served as cultural attaché to the United Kingdom and Portugal. Several times during the late 1930s, Eliade publicly expressed his support for the Iron Guard, a Christian fascist political organization. His political involvement at the time, as well as his other far right connections, were frequently criticised after World War II.

Noted for his vast erudition, Eliade had fluent command of five languages (Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English) and a reading knowledge of three others (Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit). He was elected a posthumous member of the Romanian Academy.

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