In this portrait of youth, Eliade recounts the fictional version of his university years in late 1920’s Bucharest. This follow-up to Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent reveals a keen observer of human behavior, a seeker of truth and spiritual fulfillment whose path would eventually lead him to become the ultimate historian of 20th-century religions.
What Eliade gives us is an evocative if disquieting slice of his early life and times ... However retrospectively adapted, Eliade’s two slim volumes of juvenilia anticipate much of what now passes for life-writing, autofiction or even creative non-fiction. Neither was intended for publication and both only appeared some fifty years later ... It is high time that a significant author who spoke, read or wrote in eight languages should have the full scope of his work represented in English.
Constitutes a formerly unavailable source of insight into the thought of this versatile author, as well as being edifying reading in its own right ... can be read as evidence of Eliade’s literary status, of the development of his understanding of the history of religions, of his relation to anti-Semitism, and of his unfortunate sexism, and these four interdigitate intriguingly.
Although the literary value of novels written so early in life is rarely exceptional, their value as a historical and psychological document cannot be underestimated ... The young Eliade both makes himself and writes himself with a fury.