Mircea Eliade

Mircea Eliade (; – 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. 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.

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 far-right 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 fascist and antisemitic political organization. His political involvement at the time, as well as his other far right connections, were frequently criticised after World War II (including by himself).

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. Provided by Wikipedia
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