JOURNAL I, 1945-1955 by Mircea Eliade

JOURNAL I, 1945-1955

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More mesmerizing daily jottings from the Rumanian novelist and historian of religion who died in 1986. Although the last of Eliade's four journals to be published, this was the first to be written, encompassing the decade immediately following his escape from Soviet-occupied Rumania. Working from a small, poorly furnished apartment in Paris, he set the pattern that his later journals would follow: brief, often gossipy notations stitched together by an encyclopedic knowledge of world cultures. During these years, Eliade finished his greatest novel, The Forbidden Forest; met Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and other notables (of Jung; ""he is grief-stricken over the real existence of 'flying saucers' ""); and composed many of his classic works on shamanism, mysticism, and initiation. Entries range over health, finances (""yesterday I spent the last of our money""), inadequate lodgings (""for two days it's been so cold that my hand freezes to the pen""), food, friends, books (""I believe that in the past two days I've read Balzac for more than thirty-two hours""), and ideas, leaving an impression of feverish industry and great intellectual integrity. Everything here is brief, vivid, down-to-earth, and endlessly entertaining. In sum, an engaging portrait of the sort of Renaissance individual--equally at home as an artist, philosopher, historian, and moral gadfly--who seems to be rapidly disappearing from the modern stage.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Univ. of Chicago Press