Good Friday

In the Isabella Plantation, I read Mircea Eliade’s Journal I, 1945 – 1955 (translated by Mac Linscott Ricketts). Sitting on the bench in the sunshine, in this quiet woodland garden, surrounded by the first flowering of the Japanese azaleas, sensing for the first time the imminence of another summer. Where is it that Dostoevsky writes of the possibility of our realising a form of existence which one could consider “heaven” on earth? Later I looked it up, but at the time I was pleased not to have brought my mobile, and given in to the urge to follow my train of thought online. I stayed in the moment and was able to spot a Kirin, the pale, pink flower within a flower.

Mircea Eliade’s Journal is mainly a series of everyday reflections on books, artists, memories of Romania and observations on life in Paris during the post war days. They are intelligent and precise, and I’d like to read all four volumes, and perhaps his autobiography, being interested to know more about his time in Asia. If you know Eliade’s work, perhaps you could suggest what of his work is worth reading. I realise that I’ve lost interest in stories, preferring fragmented narratives, journals, works of philosophy and poetry.

6 thoughts on “Good Friday

  1. Thanks for the hint! Accidentially, I got curious about Eliade recently too – now reading his “Yoga – Immortality and Freedom”. The “Indian Diary” ,which I found as german translation, is actually a translated collection of press articles he made from his diary. The real diary is described as gone lost (by whom?).


    • 22 July 1946 – Brice Parain tells me that ‘Techniques du Yoga” will go to press in October. At that time I’ll receive a sizeable advance.

      This is the last entry I read in the journal. I believe the lost diaries are those from 1932-40, a loss that occurred during the Second World War. They were left with a friend, Romanian intellectual, N. I. Herescu, who left them behind when he fled Romania in 1944.


  2. That beautiful garden…I used to go there sometimes when I lived for a few months in Wimbledon. I can imagine the azaleas. The only Eliade I’ve read was many years ago, in university: Myth of the Eternal Return. It was part of a reading list that also included Joseph Campbell, Jung, Robert Graves. I think I might enjoy the journals. Have always loved the dailiness of writers’ lives, what they observe, and record, and how it may or may not find its way into other work. I think of Virginia Woolf in particular.


    • I’m surprised, but delighted, that few people know of this particular garden woodland. I always go in April or May to sit with the azaleas. Eliade’s journals appear to be written for himself. It is this quality I like most in journals.


  3. Lovely image. I’m curious, does Eliade’s anti-Semitism come through? He, in particular, was pretty virulent, though he disavowed it in later life, as I understand. In particular, he was pretty terrible to Mihail Sebastian.


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