MIRCEA ELIADE was born in 1907 in Bucharest, the son of an army officer. He lived in India from 1928-1932, after which he obtained a doctorate in philosophy with a thesis on yoga, and taught at the University of Bucharest for seven years. During the war he was a cultural attaché in London and Lisbon, and from 1945 taught at the École des haut études in Paris and several other European universities. In 1957 he took up the post of Chair of History of Religion at the University of Chicago, which he held until his death in 1986. His extensive body of work includes studies of religion and the religious experience that remain influential to this day, such as The Sacred and the Profane and The Myth of the Eternal Return. He also wrote numerous works of fiction, including Bengal Nights and Youth without Youth, both of which were adapted for the screen. Noted for his vast erudition, Eliade had fluent command of five languages (Romanian, French, German, Italian, and English) and a reading knowledge of three others (Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit). He was elected a posthumous member of the Romanian Academy.
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