Éditions La Decouverte
As the debate on the religious foundations of collective identities rages on, the contribution of Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) is as essential as ever. In this first complete biography, Romanian scholar Florin Turcanu lucidly weaves a life out of the facts, acts, and lifework of the reknowned author and historian of religions. Turcanu writes lyrically, but with an emphasis on uncovering every aspect of Eliade (including what was covered up in his autobiography) to offer up as unbiased, objective, and thorough an account as possible.
The portrait that emerges is of a dynamic and contradictory figure. We learn of his adolescent obsession with the esoteric; see him as a young professor at the University of Chicago and as a yogi apprentice in an ashram in the Himalayas; watch him as the literary author starved for critical recognition and as the fascist militant to the anti-Ceausescu petitioner. Turcanu follows Eliade to Gandhi’s India, to Romania in the 1930s, to the Paris of Sartre, and the United States of the 60s, and chronicles his encounters with the likes of Ionesco and Cioran, Orgega y Gasset and Georges Dumézil, Carl Gustav Jung, and Karl Kérényi, Paul Tillich and Paul Ricoeur, Ernst Junger and Carl Schmitt, and many more.
Based on personal correspondence only recently made available, as well as newly uncovered sources and unpublished materials from Romanian, French, and German archives, this is sure to remain the definitive biography for years to come.
Florin Turcanu : Florin Turcanu is a professor of political science at the University of Bucharest and a researcher at the Romanian Institute of South-Eastern European Studies.