cover image Autobiography, Volume 2: 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey

Autobiography, Volume 2: 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey

Mircea Eliade. University of Chicago Press, $31 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-226-20411-6

Huddled in an air-raid shelter during the London Blitz, Eliade mulls over ``the mystery of collective death.'' His first meeting with his wife Christinel prompts thoughts about ``manifestations of the sacred'' in daily life. In this memoir, the distinguished Romanian-born historian of myth and religion, who died in 1986, displays an annoying tendency to turn his life into the stuff of myth. We don't get much self-revelation in an externalized self-portrait studded with scholarly conferences and writing projects. There are glimpses of Jung and Ionesco plus observations on Buddhist logic, shamanism, the Portuguese (``a sad people''), our thirst for the sacred. Eliade relives his imprisonment in a Romanian concentration camp, his subsequent flight to Paris and then to Chicago. We also see him struggling as a novelist and short-story writer, a little-known side of his career. (October)