From Magic to Myth
Chapter 8. Eliade as a Romanian Thinker
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ELIADE AS A ROMANIAN THINKER
The Privileged Status of Romania and Its Traditional Culture
In the previous chapter we have seen that Eliade’s adherence to the Iron Guard was not just a matter of a few years, since he remained unaware of the basic harm involved in a mystical movement that is both religiously fundamentalist and anti-Semitic, and paramilitary. This failure aside, Eliade remained a committed patriotic Romanian, and his acute anxiety related to the battles of the Romanian army during 1942–1943 on the Russian front is a fine expression of his deep attachment.1 However, it should be pointed out that Eliade remained attached to the Romanian people, but not so much to the Romanian state under Carol II, which he hated because of its repression of the Iron Guard, though he was nevertheless ready to serve it as a propaganda attaché.2 This adherence to Romanian ethnic or closed nationalism became, in my opinion, part and parcel of his views long after WWII. In a way, significant parts of his scholarship can be regarded as a sustained attempt to show that Romanian peasant culture is on the same level as European history “through our myths,” especially Mioriţa and Master Manole.3 ← 226 | 227 →
In a lecture delivered at the Group for Social Dialogue in Bucharest in 2002 that dealt with a comparison between Eliade and Culianu, I claimed, inter alia, that Eliade should be described as a Romanian figure,...
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