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    Polemici: Mac Linscott Ricketts. LES OUBLIS D'ALEXANDRA LAIGNEL-LAVASTINE- I
    Scris la Friday, December 11 @ 16:54:03 CET de catre asymetria
    Lecturi critice Mac Linscott Ricketts. LES OUBLIS D'ALEXANDRA LAIGNEL-LAVASTINE CONCERNING MIRCEA ELIADE
    1 PART I
    The volume, Cioran, Eliade, Ionesco: L'oubli du fascisme, by Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, Ph. D., published in April 2002 by Presses Universitaires de France (Paris), created a flood of responses, beginning almost immediately, both in France and Romania. It was a book purporting to show, with massive supporting evidence based on meticulous and original research (“in previously unexploited archives”), that the three men named in the title had all been tainted by collaboration with the Romanian government allied with the Third Reich in the Second World War, and that the first two, Cioran and Eliade, had even held and promoted the anti-Semitic doctrines of the Iron Guard, Romania's “fascist” movement. In other words, these men had “pasts” which they wanted to forget, and which they sought to conceal from the public after they became famous (only Cioran had repented openly). A
    Many of the first reviews, written almost certainly by persons who had not read the 550-page book but were naturally impressed by the size and scope of the tome, or who lacked the scholarly expertise to evaluate it, were favorable. Journalists, taking as fact the publisher's publicity printed on the back cover and the author's own claims in the opening pages, praised Mme Laignel-Lavastine's “meticulous scholarship” and the lengths to which she had gone in carrying out her “original research.”


    Mac Linscott Ricketts
    LES OUBLIS D'ALEXANDRA LAIGNEL-LAVASTINE CONCERNING MIRCEA ELIADE 1 PART I
    The volume, Cioran, Eliade, Ionesco: L'oubli du fascisme, by Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, Ph. D., published in April 2002 by Presses Universitaires de France (Paris), created a flood of responses, beginning almost immediately, both in France and Romania. It was a book purporting to show, with massive supporting evidence based on meticulous and original research (“in previously unexploited archives”), that the three men named in the title had all been tainted by collaboration with the Romanian government allied with the Third Reich in the Second World War, and that the first two, Cioran and Eliade, had even held and promoted the anti-Semitic doctrines of the Iron Guard, Romania's “fascist” movement. In other words, these men had “pasts” which they wanted to forget, and which they sought to conceal from the public after they became famous (only Cioran had repented openly).
    A many of the first reviews, written almost certainly by persons who had not read the 550-page book but were naturally impressed by the size and scope of the tome, or who lacked the scholarly expertise to evaluate it, were favorable. Journalists, taking as fact the publisher's publicity printed on the back cover and the author's own claims in the opening pages, praised Mme Laignel-Lavastine's “meticulous scholarship” and the lengths to which she had gone in carrying out her “original research.” But as time passed and specialists in Romanian studies had had time to read carefully and evaluate the whole work, the reviews became increasingly critical. One of the first critics was the man who had translated more than a score of Eliade's books, Alain Paruit, who called L'oubli a “very superficial work,” a “false book,” and one “full of errors.𔄤 Edgar Reichmann, a reviewer for Le Monde, who often has been critical of Eliade, dismissed the volume as “a knot of contradictions” that “starts from a false a priori . . . 𔄥 A Romanian, Florian Manolescu, declared it “. . . a book almost entirely erroneous.𔄦
    Several commentators pointed out that the author lacks objectivity, despite her claim to the contrary: “Our intention . . . is not inquisitorial” (p. 31). In fact, however, like D. Dubuisson, Radu Ioanid, Leon Volovici, Steven Wasserstrom, and certain others, this author can find nothing good to say about Eliade and almost nothing non-critical about Cioran. “Her attitude is fundamentally that of a prosecutor,” as Mircea Iorgulescu rightly asserts.5 Or in the words of Nicolae Manolescu, “The inquest, as she herself calls it, is transformed inevitably into a political lawsuit.𔄨
    Laignel-Lavastine calls herself one of “a new generation of researchers” at the Biblioteca Academiei Române, whose work is both “serious and dispassionate” (p. 127). Dispassionate it is not; on the contrary, nothing is admitted into her pages that would cast a shadow of doubt on her predetermined viewpoint.Her work resembles, in fact, nothing so much as a Stalinist “show- trial,” where the judgment was decided before the proceedings began. Moreover, her “original research” is much overrated. Most of the material on Eliade, supposedly found by her in obscure sources, is in fact lifted from books (including my own) without citation,7 and whenever French translations of Romanian writings exist, these are used rather than the original Romanian. What she means by “serious” is unclear, since the book is peppered with insinuations, snide remarks, and allusive sobriquets, intended to be darkly humorous. It is not a work of accurate scholarship, since it teems with errors, minor and major: from page numbers in references and historical dates to confusions of names and misinterpretations of whole articles. Neither is it one of honest scholarship, since the author's method of citing truncated quotations and passages out of context enables her to make them mean whatever she wants, even the opposite of what their author intended.8
    Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine has titled her book, L'oubli du fascisme (a title probably suggested by Daniel Dubuisson's article, “Mircea Eliade ou l'oubli de la Shoah,𔄫 meaning by this that the three subjects of her book, as I have said, had “pasts” concerning their relationships with fascism that they sought to “forget,” or to keep concealed from the the world in which they attained fame and honor after the Second World War. I have entitled my article as I have, because, the more I read Mme Lavastine's book, the more evident it became to me that she herself was guilty of the “forgetfulness” of which she accused Eliade and the others. That is, she undoubtedly had read many things in her research (however deficient) that contradicted or called into question her theses, but she conveniently “forgot” them, trusting that her readers, being persuaded by her “meticulous research” and the “overwhelming” quantity of her evidence, would not check her references or challenge her conclusions. And, indeed, there are relatively few individuals who would take the time or have the means to examine her sources, and all too many who are eager to applaud the character-assassins of these once-popular figures.
    This review will be about only those sections of the book having to do with Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), since my knowledge of the life and works of Emil Cioran and Eugène Ionesco is much less extensive than in Eliade's case. Professor Eliade was my teacher and doctoral advisor in 1961-64, and afterward a colleague (on several translation projects) and friend. Moreover, I have in my possession copies of all his books and several hundred articles written by him, from all periods of his life, plus unpublished manuscripts and letters. While Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine's research is far from being as “complete” as she represents it, I must admit that she has apparently read very extensively-more so than most persons who boldly venture to comment on what Eliade taught and believed. But she has read with a jaundiced eye (why?), which has led her to “overlook” or “forget” a great many things she read. In this article I propose to call attention to some of the most flagrant instances of her “forgettings”-things she has “repressed” because to recall them would have discredited her theses and invalidated her arguments.
    One thing she forgets to do frequently, I believe, although I can prove it in only a few of the suspicious instances, is to cite the true sources of the materials used. For example, on pp. 51-52 she describes a visit Mircea Eliade made at age fifteen with his Boy Scout troop to Cernau_i (Czernowitz) in Bukovinia, a territory recently annexed from the Hapsburg Empire. He published an account of it in a school newspaper (22 November 1922). As Laignel-Lavastine describes the visit, it was made to promote friendship with the youth of the new Romanian province. However, he is offended at the people on the street speaking German, and on learning that only 2% of the population is ethnically Romanian. Seeing that nearly all the stores display Jewish names, in Gothic or Hebrew characters, he is dismayed. Although the source given in her footnote is the school newspaper,10 to me it is obvious that Laignel-Lavastine never set eyes on that paper. The account is plagiarized from my biography of Eliade.11 Of this I am certain, since the newspaper article says nothing about the trip's being designed to promote friendship (I suggested this as a possibility), and the ethnic Romanian population of the city was not 2%, as I wrote-that was an error on my part, due to a faulty translation. The closest she comes to giving me credit is in note 1, p. 51, where, for information on Eliade's earliest youth, she refers readers to my book, which she says is “minutieusement” documented, although “conceived as a hagiography.” Actually, the article could have been found easily in a collection edited by Mircea Handoca in 1996, containing all of Eliade's articles published from 1921 through 1925.12
    Another passage evidently lifted from my book describes Eliade's departure for India, as reported in the newspaper Vremea, 29 November 1928. There are many other instances for which the only reference given is the original source, even though it seems much more likely that the author read the text in a volume of collected articles. For example, nearly all the articles of the 1920s and 1934-36 to which she makes reference are found in the two-volume anthology, Profetism românesc, edited by Dan Zamfirescu.13

    *
    An ever-present theme of L'oubli is anti-Semitism. However, the author forgets to define what she means by the term, or what it meant in Romania in the period between the two great wars, leaving the reader open to possible misunderstandings. Since the Hitler era, anti-Semitism is usually understood in “racial” terms, as a matter of “blood.” (These terms, too, are ambiguous, of course.) The term is derived from “Semite,” the name, properly speaking, for a group of languages, but which had come in nineteenth century Europe to designate the Jews as a race, like the Chinese, Negro, Amerindian, and Aryan. Jews had been widely persecuted by Christians down through the centuries on religious grounds: for rejecting the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and for putting him to death (often called “deicide,” the killing of God incarnate). However, the curse of having been born into this “race” (and thus inheriting its guilt) could be removed by baptism, and in the liberal climate of much of nineteenth-century Europe, Jews often opted for this choice and became “assimilated.”
    It is hard to grasp what was meant by “race” in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bernard Lewis, a recognized authority on the subject of anti-Semitism, points out that when the term “race” was used, it was often equivalent to what would be called an “ethnic group”: a mixture of physical characteristics, linguistic classification, aesthetic preferences, and historical, cultural, and political identities.14 As another scholar puts it: “Nineteenth-century Romanian anti- Semites employed the term 'rasa' (race) as the rough equivalent of 'nationality.'󈭣 In eastern Europe, especially, great importance was attached to nationality and to “race,” in this sense.
    Anti-Semitism did not become a major issue in what is now Romania until after the Romanian lands gained their independence from the Ottomans in 1848. During the Middle Ages, the region was known for its tolerance, and Jews from areas of Europe where they were persecuted or being expelled, notably Spain and Poland, emigrated there in significant numbers. Often they entered at the invitation of the boyars (large landholders). With independence from the Turks, a powerful nationalistic spirit came to the fore in Romania. Some of the principal proponents of anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth century were B. P. Hasdeu (1883-1907), Mihai Eminescu (1850-1899-Romania's sainted poet), and Vasile Conta (1845-1882). The last, for example, wrote, “The Jews constitute a nation, distinct from all other nations, and hostile to them.󈭤 In the twentieth century, these ideas would be carried forward by the great historian, Nicolae Iorga (1871-1940), and a host of others. To be a Romanian “nationalist” meant to be also anti-Semitic . . . but in a sense other than racial.
    Another type of anti-Semitism, the theological or “religious” one, was not prominent in Romania. More important was an economic and social type, that is, opposition to Jews on the grounds that they were forcing the peasants off their lands and turning the towns into Jewish population centers, whose economic life they dominated. Jewish immigration from Poland, Galicia, the Ukraine, and Russia in the northwestern regions was particularly alarming to the native Romanian populace. We shall hear much more about these matters later in this essay. By forgetting to make any explanation of what “anti- Semitism” meant in Romania in the twenties and thirties of this century, Laignel-Lavastine leaves to reader to assume it signified the same thing it did for those responsible for the Holocaust.
    * Mme Lavastine is somewhat confused about Eliade's relationship to the nationalistic and anti-Semitic student movement that was in full flower during his lycée and university years. The radical rightist students, led by Corneliu Z. Codreanu, law student at Iaçi, and A. C. Cuza, professor of political economy at Iaçi University, had been agitating since 1921-22 against the new liberal constitution being imposed on the nation by the Allied Powers. The chief feature of it they opposed was Article 7, granting full citizenship to Jews and other minorities.17 Opposition was often expressed in acts of physical violence against “Bolshevik Yids” and Jewish property. One of the goals of the nationalist students was “numerus clausus,” that is, the limited enrollment of Jews in the universities, where they typically were represented in much higher percentages than in the population. Spreading beyond the universities, they formed the League of National Christian Defense (LANC), which was to remain a force in Romanian society and politics until well into the thirties.
    After Parliament adopted the new constitution in March 1923, the agitation continued. Both within the student population and in society at large, the anti-Semitic activities of the nationalists tended to be approved. In the fall of 1924 Codreanu shot and killed the prefect at Iaçi, a man whose prolonged persecution of the students had earned him their hatred. The following spring, the assassin was acquitted-by a jury all of whose members wore swastikas (the LANC emblem).18
    What Laignel-Lavastine has “forgotten,” it seems, is that Eliade took no part in this nationalistic, anti-Semitic movement. She insinuates, however, in footnote 1, p. 52, that he wrote articles supporting the cause because he contributed “regularly” to a student paper, Curentul studentesc, which she describes as “close to the League for National Christian Defense (LANC).󈭧 I seriously doubt that she ever saw a copy of that periodical (as I did in 1981). It was, in fact, a newspaper published by an “independent” group of university students at Bucharest, from 16 March 1925 to 17 February 1927 (very irregularly after the first year). A theology student headed the staff and Eliade's brother filled the number-two position. Contributors included “moderate” university professors such as C. Rådulescu-Motru and Simion Mehedinñi (1868-1963). The paper's stated purposes centered on enlightening the peasantry and bringing culture to the villages. This work is seen as an urgent need, since “Foreigners in the country constitute a present and real peril to the vitality of our political unity.” In short, the editors state, “Our objective is the same as that of all good Romanians: National Security.” Obviously, these goals are “nationalistic,” and as such, comparable to those preached by Prof. Iorga or even to those of C.Z. Cuza and Codreanu,20 but what is missing here is the rabid anti-Semitism of the LANC propaganda.
    Eliade contributed just five articles to this organ, all in the spring of 1925 when he was still a lycean: “Science in the Culture of the People” (I, 2); “Our Friends, Books” (I, 4); “Creative Nationalism-the Works of Hasdeu” (I, 5); “Tinerimea român_” (about an annual spring youth gathering in Bucharest; I, 10); and “Panait Muçoiu” (I, 10).21 While some of these follow the nationalistic line of the newspaper-that is, the need for the enlightenment of the peasantry in order to strengthen the nation-Laignel-Lavastine forgets to mention that none of them contains a hint of anti-Semitism. The essay about Hasdeu's nationalism might arouse suspicion, since this nineteenth-century publicist, author, historian, statesman, and all-around genius was one of the anti-Semitic founding fathers of the nation. Eliade, who was to write about this man often in the years to come, in this article passes quickly over his “objective anti- Semitism” and emphasizes his nationalism which, in contrast, “never attained objectivity.” Hasdeu's nationalism, the young Eliade wrote, “must be an example for us today . . . He could not limit himself to vain words, tricolored standards, or noisy demonstrations. Our nationalism must be creative: our duty is to work . . . In other words, nationalism must strive for the cultivation of the ethnic element in the whole country, because by enlightening the consciousness of the many, the Romanian civilization which the West awaits from us will be determined.”
    Also in line with the paper's stated purpose of lifting the cultural level of the peasants, is Eliade's article, “Science in the Culture of the People.” It is an essay about Victor Anestin (d. 1918), an able Romanian scientist who sacrificed his career in astronomy to write articles of a popular-science type for the benefit of the masses.22 This sort of thing, Eliade asserts, is the task of our generation, of the students who are the forerunners of the “cultural renaissance” that will follow us.
    The most surprising article in the group is the one about Panait Musoiu (1864-1944). This piece was written after Eliade had been taken to meet the “anarchist󈭫 or socialist, who eked out a living translating unpopular political books. Eliade, ever an admirer of a bibliophile and “workaholic,” has only words of praise for him. “We don't care about the man's social creed or the political party to which he belongs. We admire the Man himself and the miracle accomplished by this idealist who molds the world to his ideas instead of letting himself be molded by the world's realities.” Then, bearing in mind his readers' viewpoint, he asserts: “We must not judge Mu_oiu from the standpoint of the doctrine he propagates, but we must admire him for the honesty with which he propagates it.” In view of the contents of these articles, it is not too surprising that no reference to them is made in L'oubli du fascisme. From the author's point of view, they were better forgotten.
    Eliade wrote only once, almost certainly by special invitation, for Cuvântul studentesc, the organ of the National Union of Romanian Christian Students-and Laignel-Lavastine does not forget to mention this fact (p.70). Entitled “A Generation,󈭬 the article is essentially a summary of some major themes of the famous “Spiritual Itinerary” series25 which Eliade had just finished publishing, especially the alienation between the new (or young) generation and the older generations (the one that went to war, and the one preceding that). The the two tiny fragments cited from it by our “historian” shed little light on the article's main theme-especially since she mistranslates a word, reading batjocurit (“mocked”) for båtåtorit (“tread”)! The sentence from which she quotes, rightly translated, reads: “They [the war generation] walked, with borrowed steps, to the Western rhythm-and thus they tread on our poor Romanian soil like Westerners.”
    This statement shows, as Mme Lavastine implies, Eliade's hostility to ideas introduced from Western Europe, but the one truly “nationalistic” sentence, which Laignel-Lavastine somehow overlooked, is this: “Now, our Romanianism [românism] has suffered in the past ten years the most terrible crisis that history can recall from 1848 on”-meaning, in the context of the article, the influence of Western European ideas such as positivism and “neospiritualism.” The war generation produced nothing of value (i.e., in the way of literature), but now, he continues, its influence has diminished. It is a historical fact, he states, that after such a crisis there follows a renaissance. Our generation, “animated by the Spirit,” is the fruit of that crisis. We are destined to be “true creators,” he declares, referring to what he had said in the “Spiritual Itinerary” articles and would say, he promised, in a forthcoming volume, Cartea cu semne [The Book with Signs]-a book which was, however, never published.

    *
    Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine has quite forgotten to make use of an invaluable source, Eliade's autobiographical “novel” of his student years, Gaudeamus, readily available in a volume published in 1989.26 When he entered the University of Bucharest in the fall of 1925, he joined a “student circle” or club, just then in the process of being organized by a senior medical student (“Dr.” Zissu) who had been promised money for a cåmin (dormitory and canteen) if he could organize a group. For several weeks the circle met in Eliade's garret, where they practiced Christmas carols, since caroling was to be their first activity. In his autobiography,27 he avows that he was indifferent to the nationalistic student movement in his university years, and all contemporary evidence I have found supports this statement. The circle Eliade joined was one of the rare ones that was nonpolitical. According to Gaudeamus, the president had made it a strict rule that members were not to discuss politics, even informally, at their meetings. Once, when some boys became engaged in a heated conversation about the student strike (to protest the government's refusal to impose numerus clausus), the president promptly ruled them out of order.28 The author (i.e., Eliade), when asked his opinion, refused to take a position on the matter. Later, when some of the author's friends found out about his involvement in a circle, they assumed that it was a typical nationalistic, anti-Semitic group.
    A close friend from lycée days, a Jewish boy called “Marcu” (Mircea Marculescu),29 stops coming to call at Eliade's garret. When the two chance to meet on the street, Marcu says, “Radu told me that you'd turned anti-Semitic and that your attic had become the meeting place of a Christian circle . . . ” The author laughs. “It's true that for two months my garret was the meeting place of the Circle. Many of the students are anti-Semitic, but you know me, I've never been an anti-Semite.󈭲
    The president put the author in charge of publishing a paper, Revista universitar_., which was distributed through newsstands. However, it did not sell well: “Being neither anti- Semitic or philo-Semitic, it didn't interest people.󈭳 When a friend insists that the author can't be a Christian without being an anti-Semite, he replies, “That's stupid. I can't become a supporter of a solution so long as I haven't studied the problem.” The other retorts, “Who's stopping you from studying it?” And the author answers, “The anti-Semites. Do you think I can be objective when heads are being cracked, when Jewish classmates are beaten, when Christian classmates are locked up. . . ? The country's not perishing because five students avoid the Jewish question, preferring to find first themselves, to create criteria of values.󈭴
    In his second year at the university he attended a congress of student societies at Iaçi in November. Among the large number attending were some thirty persons from Eliade's circle alone. He went to the opening session of the three-day meeting, but was unimpressed by the cheering throngs or the orations. “I didn't listen to a single speech in its entirety. I couldn't pay attention. The problems were unfamiliar to me and I was unwilling to accept the conclusions of the references without examining closely their starting points.33 He and his girlfriend spent most of the time touring the old city, and he wrote no article about it for Cuvântul (to which he was now contributing) when he returned.

    *
    It is important to see what Eliade wrote in these years about B. P. Hasdeu, one of the “founding fathers” of the nation, known for his anti-Semitism. Eliade had first written about him, as we have seen, in the spring of 1925. That fall he published an important two-part article on the man, which Laignel-Lavastine has forgotten to include among her references.34 The article, which summarizes the scholar and publicist's life and works, includes references to his nationalistic articles, especially those dealing with the Jews: The Talmud, and National Industry and Jewish [evreiasc_] Industry, as Related to the Principle of Competition. In these, Eliade states, “are seen his anti-Semitic ideas, based, however on historical facts and not on passions and hatred.” In another book, The History of Tolerance in Romania, Eliade reports, Hasdeu maintained and demonstrated that the Romanian rulers have had a long history of religious tolerance for all faiths, including Hussites, Lutherans, Evangelicals, Armenians, Muslims, and Jews. These last he divided into three categories: those who arrived in early Roman times, those expelled from Spain in 1490, and those from Poland. These last had experienced some persecution, he confessed, but compared to the Inquisition of Western Europe, it was “child's play.” Before writing these “works of his maturity,” Eliade admits that he had published a “tendentious pamphlet,” Three Jews [ovrei] in which he had classified Jews into three types, based on literary characters: Shylock, Gosbec (from Balzac), and Moise (from Alecsandri, a Romanian writer).
    In this article, as well as the earlier one, Eliade seems to be going out of his way to show that Hasdeu, although a nationalist, was not an anti-Semite-and to hold him up as an example for his generation-this, at a time when Jew-hating was very much in vogue among “Christian” university students. By taking account of these writings unfortunately “forgotten” by Mme Laignel-Lavastine, a very different, richer, and, in my opinion, more accurate portrait of the young Mircea Eliade emerges.

    *
    In the spring of 1927, Eliade participated in a three-week tour of Italy sponsored by his former lycée. Among the articles he sent back for publication in Cuvântul is one that describes the rude treatment the group received from members of a Romanian student canteen in Pisa. Although it had been arranged for them to dine there, the majority of the canteen's members (who were Jews) refused to vacate the tables to make room for them. One Jewish student, whom Eliade repeatedly praises, by name, in the article, stood up for them, however, and with his efforts plus those of one Christian student and some Italian professors, the visitors finally were able to eat. The next day, their defenders were expelled from the “Fascist Student Circle” (as it was called). Eliade calls the student who befriended the group “the most sincere and enthusiastic Romanian citizen.󈭷 It will be recalled that only a few years before, students and others had violently opposed granting citizenship to Jews. Again, Laignel- Lavastine, Ph. D., has forgotten to mention and comment on this very interesting article.
    On this same trip he interviewed the historian of religions, Vittorio Macchioro, a man with whom he had been corresponding for years.36 Neither Catholic nor Fascist, he held a modest post as director of the National Museum of Antiquities at Naples, with some teaching duties. After the two had discussed mystery religions (Macchioro's speciality), the Italian began speaking of life under Fascism. “. . . In Fascist Italy freedom of thought and of publication has not existed for a long time,” he said. Yet Italian intellectuals, he continued, are not “revolted” by this, but flattered. “They are happy to be slaves to the government.” He spoke critically of Giovanni Gentile (since he had become a Fascist), and said he wanted to leave Italy. But he warned Eliade, “If you were to entrust to a Fascist what we've been talking about, I'm sure I'd be fired from the university and the museum.” Nevertheless, naively, Eliade published these statements in his interview article, with the result that Macchioro lost his job, and was interrogated by the police. Eliade remembered the whole episode when he wrote his memoirs, commenting, “At that time I did not know what a dictatorship means.󈭹
    Mme Laignel-Lavastine mentions that Eliade was “fascinated” by Giovanni Papini's idea of “spiritual virility” (p. 53), and took an interview with him on the 1927 Italian trip. This man, she says, was one his “passions” in these years. These statements are true, but the researcher again forgets to give any details, being content to have joined Eliade's name to that of a man known to have been an ardent Fascist. By this time, however, Papini had converted to Catholicism (in 1920), and had modified greatly his rhetoric, becoming an “orthodox reactionary,” identifying the cause of Fascism with that of the Church.38 Eliade had “discovered” Papini in lycée, finding himself in the latter's autobiographical volume, Un uomo finito (1912). The adolescent, struggling to overcome his melancholic “Moldavian heritage” and attain a more virile will, responded enthusiastically to Papini's early writings. A whole chapter of his Novel of the Nearsighted Adolescent was devoted to Papini.39 Since the two had been in correspondence for several months before their meeting, the interview was conducted on a very personal level. For instance, a major subject was what each understood by “mysticism.” Nothing was said about Fascism-or even about “virility.” Mme Lavastine forgets, however, to tell her readers these things.
    Making reference to his article on Julius Evola written in 1927, “The Value of Occultism in Contemporary Culture,󈭼 Laignel- Lavastine observes that Eliade shows himself “very knowledgeable” of the works of this man, who, in later years, would (she says), like Eliade and Papini, endeavor to “fuse Fascism with religion” (p. 53). Again, the author presumes to demonstrate a “guilt by association,” without offering any proof. In fact, in this article Eliade criticizes Evola for not being religious and thus not knowing a “Christic experience.” The next spring (1928) Eliade was in Italy again, this time to study for his baccalaureate thesis on the Renaissance. On this visit, he managed to interview Prof. Giovanni Gentile, after attending one of his class lectures.41 “The man made a very strong impression on Eliade, as the reading of their interview published in Cuvântul testifies,” Laignel-Lavastine asserts, without proffering any details.42 The interview, as published, is mainly about contemporary Italian philosophy and philosophers. As for Fascism, Gentile is quoted as saying, “Naturally, Fascism has points of contact with philosophy. The Fascist doctrine itself, having religious, cultural, and educational attitudes, has a philosophical substance.” No doubt Eliade was “impressed”
    with the whole experience, though not because the man was a Fascist, as our researcher intimates, but because he, a very young man, was able to hear, and to speak face to face for more than half an hour, with Italy's leading philosopher.
    *
    In summarizing Eliade's activities and writings prior to his leaving for India in November 1928,43 I would emphasize, in contrast to the allegations and insinuations of the French researcher, the following important facts which she “forgets”: Eliade did not, in any of the more than three hundred articles he wrote in these years, advocate limitation of enrollment of Jews or other minorities in the universities (numerus clausus); he did not belong to any nationalistic student group or participate in any anti-Semitic act of violence commonplace among members of these groups; he did not refer to Jews by the pejorative term “Yids” (Jidani); he went out of his way to attempt to minimize Hasdeu's known anti-Semitism; and he did not “militate” in favor of fascism or in opposition to democracy.
    _______________________________
    1. 2. “Cioran, Eliade, Ionescu: uitarea fascismului de Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine. Dezbatere RFI,” Revista 22 (Bucharest, 18-24 Jun 02); cf. “Comment critiquer Eliade, Cioran et Ionesco?” Esprit, Aug-Sep 02, pp. 227-39.
    3. Revista 22 (18-24 Jun 02).
    4. “Eliade, Cioran, Ionescu si pipa lui Magritte,” Litere, arte, idei (LAI), Supliment de Cotidanul, 30 (17 Jun 02).
    5. “Portret artistului cu delincvent politic, I,” first of a four-part article, Revista 22, no. 21, (21-27 May 02).
    6. “Editorial: Istoria ca proces politic,” România literarå, 21 (29 May-4 June 02)
    7. Marta Petreu found the author had plagiarized her works on Cioran also: “Laignel-Lavastine, metoda 'franceza,'” Revista 22, VIII, 26 Jun - 30 Jul 02 (five-part article).
    8. A. Paruit, in Esprit, op. cit, p. 23.
    9. In Gradhiva, 28 (2000), pp. 61-66.
    10. “Cernauñi,” Ziarul çtiinñelor populare, 21 Nov 22.
    11 Mac Linscott Ricketts, Mircea Eliade, The Romanian Roots: 1901-1945. Boulder: East European Monographs, 1988, p. 33.
    12. Mircea Eliade, Cum am gasit piatra filozofala, Bucharest: Humanitas, 1996.
    13. Mircea Eliade, Profetism românesc, Bucharest: Ed. Roza Vânturilor.
    14 Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, New York and London: W.W.Norton & Co., 1986, pp. 95-96; see all of Chapter 4.
    15. William O. Oldson, A Providential Anti-Semitism. Nationalism and Polity in Nineteenth-Century Romania, Philadelphia: The National Philosophical Society, 1991, p. 30
    16. Tesu Solomovici, România judaica, o istorie neconventionala a evreilor din România, Bucharest: Editura Tesu, 2001, I, p. 88; cf. Chapters IV and V.
    17. This was the same Article-and the same issue-that had been fiercely debated in the late 1870s when Romania was seeking recognition of its independence by other European nations. A compromise had been reached then, which-while seeming to open the way to Jewish emancipation-allowed the government to continue, in effect, to exclude virtually all Jews from citizenship. See William D. Oldson, op. cit., pp. 47-97.
    18. See Irina Livezeanu, Culture and Politics in Greater Romania. Regionalism, Nation Building, and Ethnic Struggle, 1918- 1930, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995, Chapter 7, especially pp. 256-287. Cf. Ricketts, Romanian Roots, pp. 129- 131.
    19. See her lively account of the activities of LANC members, implying a kind of guilt by association to Eliade for his writing for a paper that was “close” to it!
    20. Cf. Codreanu, Pentru Legionari, I, Miami Beach: Traian Golea, 1990 (7th ed.; orig. 1937), p. 14.
    21. All of these can be found in Eliade, Cum am gåsit piatra filozofalå, cited above.
    22. Cf. Eliade, “Victor Anestin,” in Cuvântul, 15 Nov 26. 23. Eliade, Autobiography, vol. I, New York: Harper & Row, 1981, p. 111.
    24. “O genera_ie,” Cuvântul studentesc, 4 Dec 27. Laignel- Lavastine, I am sure, found this in a book, Ideea care ucide, Dimensiunile ideologisei legionare, edited by Alexandru Florian, Radu Florian, et. al., Bucharest: Editura Noua Alternativa, 1994, pp. 186-88-a fact she forgets to mention. The article appeared originally in Dec 27. (Eliade published one other article in this paper [“Cultura si creatie,” 15 Feb 36] which is not mentioned in L'oubli du fascisme.)
    25 Laignel-Lavastine gives little attention to these articles, forgetting their importance for Eliade at this time and largely missing their point. Cf. pp. 66, 68, 70-72.
    26 Eliade, Romanul adolescentului miop (with Gaudeamus), ed. by Mircea Handoca, Bucharest: Ed. Minerva, 1989.
    27 Autobiography, II, 1937-1960, Exile's Odyssey, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1988, p. 13.
    28 Gaudeamus, p. 225.
    29 Eliade, Autobiography, I, pp. 74-76. “Thanks to him [Mårculescu] I came to know firsthand the life of the poor Jews of Dudeçti. We got into the habit of spending holidays together; the Christian ones at my home, the Jewish ones with his family.” Later he became an important agent of the Secret Sercive, working at the Library of the Romanian Academy. (See Alexandru George, “Câte un necunoscut,” Adevårul literar çi artistic, 8 Aug 2002. 30. Gaudeamus, pp. 292-93.
    31. Ibid, p. 256. There were only three issues, Jan, Feb, Mar 1926. Cf. Mircea Handoca, Mircea Eliade, Biobibliografie, Bucharest: Editura “Jurnalul Literar,” 1997: Eliade's 16 contributions are listed between nos. 575 and 601, pp. 130-32. See Autobiography, I, pp. 1l3-l5.
    32. Gaudeamus, p. 295.
    33. Ibid, p. 330.
    34. “Bogdan-Petreceicu Hasdeu,” Foia tinerimii, 15 Oct and 15 Nov 25; repr. in Eliade, Cum am descoperat piatra filosofalå, pp. 302-07, 323-28.
    35. Eliade, “Studenñii 'români' la Pisa,” Cuvântul, 21 May 27.
    36. Eliade, “Note de drum: Napoli,” Cuvântul, 8 Jun 27.
    37. Eliade, Autobiography, vol. I, p. 126. Unfortunately, this episode was not enough to persuade him of the evils of dictatorship, as we shall see.
    38. Adrian Lyttelton, Italian Fascisms, from Pareto to Gentile, London: Jonathan Cape, 1973, pp. 97-98.
    39. Eliade, Romanul adolescentului miop, pp. 183-86. Cf. Autobiography, I, pp. 82-84.
    40. Eliade, “Ocultismul în cultura contemporanå,” Cuvântul, 1 Dec 27. It is a review of an article Evola had recently published.
    41. Eliade, “De vorba cu Giovanni Gentile,” Cuvântul, 27 May 28; Autobiography I, p. 123.
    42. Probably she is quoting me here, where I was referring to Eliade's reaction to hearing Gentile lecture. See Ricketts, Mircea Eliade, The Romanian Roots, 1907-1945, p. 311 (see pp. 311- 12). Laignel-Lavastine is not interested in the article per se, but only in the fact that Eliade had interviewed a Fascist. Hence she “forgets” to summarize the article.
    43. Lavastine becomes confused about the date of his departure, although she copies from my book a newspaper account (without credit) which plainly states that it was 22 November 1928. She is equally confused about the time he spent there: she says from December 1929 to November 1931-two years! (p. 53).a

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