The book Bengal Nights: A Novel, Mircea Eliade is published by University of Chicago Press. Bengal Nights Mircea Eliade The University of Chicago Press. Mircea Eliade ( ) was the Sewell L. Avery Distinguished Service Professor in the. Maitreyi by Mircea Eliade Ultima noapte de dragoste, întâia noapte de război by Camil Bengal Nights was written by a European man in India (Calcutta in the.
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A twenty-something Romanian student with Fascist associations who happens to be quite fluent in French and has a bit of English arrives in Calcutta in British India to study with a renowned Bengali scholar. The scholar takes an interest in the young European and invites him to stay at his home as a member of his large household. Over the course of a number of months of miscommunication cross cultures, everyone speaking their second or third language but never their first, the two young people fall in love — or think they fall in love — which amounts to the same thing.
Alas, her parents discover their star-crossed love in the delirious beri beri ravings of her younger sister. Her father orders the young man out of the house and threatens to have him deported if he tries to contact his daughter. The young man goes to a monastery in the Himalayas for a bit and eventually becomes an important scholar of world religions.
The young poet grows up to be an older poet, novelist, social activist, wife, mother, and grandmother. Unknown to her, the object of her youthful infatuation, two decades after the events, writes a novel based on his experiences in Bengal.
Showing an unbelievable lack of judgement, while he gave himself a pseudonym in his novel, he uses her real name, and injects extra physical passion into the story. The unfortunate lady does not know for another 20 years that she has been named by a famous man as his under-aged Bengali sex-partner.
Horrified by the distortions of her experience it had not been a physical relationshipin she publishes a novel, forty-four years after the events, giving the true story. Two years later she publishes her own English translation. As well, she contacts the now old man and he agrees his novel will not be published in English until after her death.
The film stars a young English actor destined to be famous both for his performances on stage and screen as well as public performances of a licentious nature on Sunset Boulevard. Eliade did spend time in the company of the then sixteen and already famous Maitreyi Devi. The young friends did go to visit her elderly guru. And Eliade was asked to leave the house in some haste. InEliade published La nuit bengali. It by agreement with Devi, it was not published in English untilwhen it appeared as Bengal Nights.
The film stared Hugh Grant as the Eliade character, now a British Engineer building dams or something. In an absolutely awful print of the film was packaged as a DVD. He continues to be one of the giants upon whose shoulders I perch unsteadily. The novel has little to recommend it as a novel. It is a pedestrian version of the young summer love story that has been done thousands of times and usually far better, from Shakespeare to Trevanian.
Bengal Nights never rises to anything lyrical and is often ugly. Perhaps it is never more ugly than when Eliade, at the end of the novel, goes off to the Himalayas to purify himself like a yogi on a mountain top, and finds cleansing in the bed of a blonde Nordic Valkyrie! It Does Not Die is a beautiful, poetic, aching novel.
Here a born-poet is at the height of her powers and maturity and yet is still that vulnerable, joyful sixteen-year-old girl. Devi slips back and forth in time, not simply remembering and all the years since, but living them again, even as her family life, her political and charitable work, and her poetry swirl around her.
It Does Not Die is a meditation on memory, and investigation of motivation, a study of the tragedy of self-delusion, and, in the end, a profound philosophical statement on Love and Truth.
At the end of the novel, when Devi meets Eliade for the first time in forty-two years, it becomes a confrontation because Eliade refuses to look at her, preferring the fantasy vision in his memory to the reality in the room with him.
Is love a material object that can be snatched away from one and given to another? Is it a property or an ornament? It is a light, Mircea, a light — like the light of intelligence, like the light of knowledge is the light of love. But Eliade has always refused to face the reality of Devi. He has never returned to India because he has clung to his fantasy of her and of her land. Your book is a hengal for me.
I was a simple little girl who sometimes played philosopher.
I was no enigma. The mystery is your creation. You love the fantastic and unreal. But now I have really come, to perform an impossible deed. Supriya Pathak is marvellously natural as Gayatri, the Maitreyi Devi character but mmircea obviously older than sixteen. Hugh Grant is somehow both slack-jawed and wooden throughout, and his accent wanders back and forth across the English Channel. The rest of the Indian mirce is professional and comes across as having mysterious depths, one of the few positives of the film.
John Hurt and the other European cast members have pretty much phoned in their eliadw. Thankfully, the story ends before Grant meets the cleansing blonde Nordic Valkyrie.
Everything is washed out. And the sound is as muddy as the water of the Sacred Ganges. It is physically difficult to watch. The Indians were all running on Indian-subcontinent Time, not caring whether shooting got done each day, Diaz says. When Devi translated her novel into English, she gave a gift to the West that the West hardly deserves. Maitreyi Devi and Mircea Eliade […]. I am really impressed by your interpretation of the events. My mother had told me to read the novel by Maitreyi Devi, being a avid admirer of her works.
While I was reading about the plot lines, the social backdrop, the structure of the novel etcI came across your article. It is beautifully written. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Thoughtscapes – people, place, policy, potential. Think like the mountain, encompass the landscape and its culture, see beyond what we have only come to see.
Bengal Nights: A Novel, Eliade, Spencer
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