Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mircea Eliade  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1907 in Bucharest, Romania

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Mircea was a professor at the University of Chicago or many years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Eliade was educated as a philosopher. He published extensively in the history of religions and acted as editor-in-chief of Macmillan's Encyclopedia of Religion. The influence of his thought, through these works and through thirty years as director of History of Religions department at the University of Chicago, is considerable.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structure of Alchemy
ISBN: 0226203905

University of Chicago Press. 1979

Primitive man's discovery of the ability to change matter from one state to another brought about a profound change in spiritual behavior. In The Forge and the Crucible, Mircea Eliade follows the ritualistic adventures of these ancient societies, adventures rooted in the people's awareness of an awesome new power.

The new edition of The Forge and the Crucible contains an updated appendix, in which Eliade lists works on Chinese alchemy published in the past few years. He also discusses the importance of alchemy in Newton's scientific evolution.

History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries
ISBN: 0226204014

University of Chicago Press. 1981

"No one has done so much as Mr. Eliade to inform literature students in the West about 'primitive' and Oriental religions. . . . Everyone who cares about the human adventure will find new information and new angles of vision."—Martin E. Marty, New York Times Book Review

A History of Religious Ideas, Vol. 3: From Muhammad to the Age of Reforms
ISBN: 0226204057

University of Chicago Press. 1988

This volume completes the immensely learned three-volume A History of Religious Ideas. Eliade examines the movement of Jewish thought out of ancient Eurasia, the Christian transformation of the Mediterranean area and Europe, and the rise and diffusion of Islam from approximately the sixth through the seventeenth centuries. Eliade's vast knowledge of past and present scholarship provides a synthesis that is unparalleled. In addition to reviewing recent interpretations of the individual traditions, he explores the interactions of the three religions and shows their continuing mutual influence to be subtle but unmistakable.

As in his previous work, Eliade pays particular attention to heresies, folk beliefs, and cults of secret wisdom, such as alchemy and sorcery, and continues the discussion, begun in earlier volumes, of pre-Christian shamanistic practices in northern Europe and the syncretistic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. These subcultures, he maintains, are as important as the better-known orthodoxies to a full understanding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Images and Symbols
ISBN: 069102068X

Princeton University Press. 1991

Mircea Eliade--one of the most renowned expositors of the psychology of religion, mythology, and magic--shows that myth and symbol constitute a mode of thought that not only came before that of discursive and logical reasoning, but is still an essential function of human consciousness. He describes and analyzes some of the most powerful and ubiquitous symbols that have ruled the mythological thinking of East and West in many times and at many levels of cultural development.

Bengal Nights: A Novel
ISBN: 0226204189

University Of Chicago Press. 1994

Set in 1930s Calcutta, this is a roman á clef of remarkable intimacy. Originally published in Romanian in 1933, this semiautobiographical novel by the world renowned scholar Mircea Eliade details the passionate awakenings of Alain, an ambitious young French engineer flush with colonial pride and prejudice and full of a European fascination with the mysterious subcontinent.

Offered the hospitality of a senior Indian colleague, Alain grasps at the chance to discover the authentic India firsthand. He soon finds himself enchanted by his host's daughter, the lovely and inscrutable Maitreyi, a precocious young poet and former student of Tagore. What follows is a charming, tentative flirtation that soon, against all the proprieties and precepts of Indian society, blossoms into a love affair both impossible and ultimately tragic. This erotic passion plays itself out in Alain's thoughts long after its bitter conclusion. In hindsight he sets down the story, quoting from the diaries of his disordered days, and trying to make sense of the sad affair.

A vibrantly poetic love story, Bengal Nights is also a cruel account of the wreckage left in the wake of a young man's self discovery. At once horrifying and deeply moving, Eliade's story repeats the patterns of European engagement with India even as it exposes and condemns them. Invaluable for the insight it offers into Eliade's life and thought, it is a work of great intellectual and emotional power.

"Bengal Nights is forceful and harshly poignant, written with a great love of India informed by clear-eyed understanding. But do not open it if you prefer to remain unmoved by your reading matter. It is enough to make stones weep." — Literary Review

Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) was the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Many of his scholarly works, as well as his two-volume autobiography and four-volume journal, are published by the University of Chicago Press. Translated into French in 1950, Bengal Nights was an immediate critical success. The film, Les Nuits Bengali, appeared in 1987.

Patterns in Comparative Religion
ISBN: 0803267339

Bison Books. 1996

In this era of increased knowledge the essence of religious phenomena eludes the psychologists, sociologists, linguists, and other specialists because they do not study it as religious. According to Mircea Eliade, they miss the one irreducible element in religious phenomena—the element of the sacred. Eliade abundantly demonstrates universal religious experience and shows how humanity’s effort to live within a sacred sphere has manifested itself in myriad cultures from ancient to modern times

how certain beliefs, rituals, symbols, and myths have, with interesting variations, persisted.

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Bollingen Series (General))
ISBN: 0691119422

Princeton University Press. 2004

First published in 1951, Shamanism soon became the standard work in the study of this mysterious and fascinating phenomenon. Writing as the founder of the modern study of the history of religion, Romanian migr--scholar Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) surveys the practice of Shamanism over two and a half millennia of human history, moving from the Shamanic traditions of Siberia and Central Asia--where Shamanism was first observed--to North and South America, Indonesia, Tibet, China, and beyond. In this authoritative survey, Eliade illuminates the magico-religious life of societies that give primacy of place to the figure of the Shaman--at once magician and medicine man, healer and miracle-doer, priest, mystic, and poet. Synthesizing the approaches of psychology, sociology, and ethnology, Shamanism will remain for years to come the reference book of choice for those intrigued by this practice.

The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History (Bollingen Series (General))
ISBN: 0691123500

Princeton University Press. 2005

This founding work of the history of religions, first published in English in 1954, secured the North American reputation of the Romanian migr-scholar Mircea Eliade (1907-1986). Making reference to an astonishing number of cultures and drawing on scholarship published in no less than half a dozen European languages, Eliade's The Myth of the Eternal Return makes both intelligible and compelling the religious expressions and activities of a wide variety of archaic and "primitive" religious cultures. While acknowledging that a return to the "archaic" is no longer possible, Eliade passionately insists on the value of understanding this view in order to enrich our contemporary imagination of what it is to be human. Jonathan Z. Smith's new introduction provides the contextual background to the book and presents a critical outline of Eliade's argument in a way that encourages readers to engage in an informed conversation with this classic text.

Rites and Symbols of Initiation
ISBN: 0882143581

Spring Publications. 1998

Organizing data from cultures the world over, Mircea Eliade, one of the preeminent interpreters of world religion in the twentieth century, lays out the basic patterns of initiation: group puberty rites, entrance into secret cults, shamanic instruction, individual visions, and heroic rites of passage. The vast information assembled here transcends usual scholarship. Eliade always affirms the greater experience in all initiation the indissoluble tie between humans and the cosmos of gods, spirits, animals, ancestors, and nature. As Michael Meade writes in his foreword, Eliade fervently worked at keeping the doors of perception open to the world of sacred symbols and creative ritual. Through his insistence that we are each the necessary inheritors of a vast sacred heritage, he has acted as a spiritual elder and distant mentor to me and many students of myth and ritual. Like an archeologist of symbols, he has unearthed, preserved, and found new meanings in the rites of our ancestors.

Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (Mythos: The Princeton/Bollingen Series in World Mythology)
ISBN: 0691142033

Princeton University Press. 2009

In this landmark book, first published in English in 1958, renowned scholar of religion Mircea Eliade lays the groundwork for a Western understanding of Yoga. Drawing on years of study and experience in India, Eliade provides a comprehensive survey of Yoga in theory and practice from its earliest antecedents in the Vedas through the twentieth century.

A new introduction by David Gordon White provides invaluable insight into Eliade's life and work, highlighting the key moments in Eliade's academic and spiritual education, as well as the personal experiences that shaped his worldview. Yoga is not only one of Eliade's most important books, it is also his most personal--the only one to analyze a religious tradition that he had truly lived.


Awards

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