Mircea Eliade Biography - Essay

Biography

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I think it will be evident to any attentive reader [of Tales of the Occult] that I wanted to relate some yogic techniques, and particularly yogic folklore, to a series of events narrated in the literary genre of a mystery story. In both novelettes ["The Secret of Dr. Honigberger" and "Nights at Serampore"] a number of important personages are real. (p. ix)

However, throughout these two tales I have carefully introduced a number of imaginary details, in order to awaken in any cautious reader suspicion concerning the authenticity of the yogic "secrets." For instance, at a certain moment the life of Dr. Honigberger is radically mythologized…. Likewise, the region around Serampore is described in such a way as to reveal its status as a mythical geography. The same observation is pertinent with regard to certain of the yogic techniques depicted: some descriptions correspond to real experiences, but others reflect more directly yogic folklore. As a matter of fact, this mélange of reality and fiction is admirably suited to the writer's central conception of "camouflage" as a dialectical moment…. But in these two stories "camouflage" is used in a paradoxical manner, for the reader has no means to decide whether the "reality" is hidden in "fiction," or the other way around, because both processes are intermingled. (pp. ix-x)

I knowingly utilized a number of clichés, for my ambition was to follow as closely...

(The entire section is 501 words.)