Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 11, No 1 (2017)

The Pragmasemantic Analysis of the Correspondence between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu: The Proof of Unconditional Devotion and Circularity of Literary and Ontological Perspectives between the Master and the Disciple

Georgiana Claudia Mihail1

Abstract: This article has the aim to show that there is a circularity of ideas shared by Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu. Apart from the analysis of their scientific and literary works, the focus on their epistolary dialogues helps us identifying common beliefs and illustrates the process of writing books and articles by means of exchanging new and interesting ideas between the master Mircea Eliade and the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu. However, the master – disciple epistolary dialogue becomes an example that writers can follow whenever they want to realize monographs about Postmodernist writers. The article includes two main parts. On the one hand, there is the part concerning the analysis of the letters Mircea Eliade addressed to his disciple, the most relevant aspect being Mircea Eliade’s methodical optimism conveyed to his disciple by means of their correspondence, and on the other hand, there is another part regarding the analysis of the epistolary texts Ioan Petru Culianu addressed to his master and at this level, what is very important is Ioan Petru Culianu’s follow of the initiation labyrinthic path shaped by his master. Moreover, there are various methods used in this article, written in accordance with Ioan Petru Culianu’s interdisciplinary aim, because it includes a pragmasemantic approach, by means of pragmatic deductions, inductions and inferences adapted to the context, combined with references to anthropology, history of religions and literary world.

Keywords: circularity; collaboration; dialogue; labyrinthic path; Indian optimism; success

The analysis of the correspondence between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu reveals fundamental information concerning the similarities and differences established between the two Romanian writers’ systems of thought. The relationship between the master Mircea Eliade and the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu is quite complementary, because the disclosure of inner conflicts and the announcement of forthcoming projects are shared by both writers, through the letters they exchange. The disciple Ioan Petru Culianu undergoes an exemplary spiritual development, thanks to the precious and valuable advice coming from his master, Mircea Eliade. The volume of Interrupted Dialogues: The Correspondence between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu includes important pieces of advice that Mircea Eliade gives to his disciple. One of them is the suggestion to drop superannuated bibliographical sources that would have been found in Romania in the 1960s and were written in that period of “The oppressive, dark, gloomy decade”, in accordance with the doctrine of the political system. Mircea Eliade considers that his disciple should draw his attention to foreign bibliographical sources, in order to write original and relevant articles that could bring significant new discoveries in the process of understanding the world. Moreover, Ioan Petru Culianu’s articles are constantly reviewed by his master Mircea Eliade who also gives his disciple new ideas of research. Another interesting aspect that can be found in the volume of Correspondence between the two Romanian writers is the clarification of the hidden intentions typical of Mircea Eliade’s literary works, a field that his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu was fascinated about, probably with the aim to exceed his master, repeating the stages of an initiation ritual.

1. The Master Mircea Eliade and the Methodical Optimism Conveyed to his Disciple Ioan Petru Culianu by Means of their Correspondence

The correspondence between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu illustrates the evolution of the disciple, in accordance with the chronological method of presentation from the volume. Just as all the Romanian writers were searching for a new open country to live, in the context of a limitative and ostracizing political system, so did Mircea Eliade’s disciple, Ioan Petru Culianu, who followed the exile path in different European countries, such as: Italy, Holland, France, due to the unpropitious conditions for the intellectual work in his native country. The tremendous experience of the exile, which is perceived as a difficult process of adaptation to new circumstances, decisively influenced the author, because this experience is fictionally transposed in the novel entitled The Emerald Game. For instance, The Introduction of this literary work has a confessional and autobiographical feature, because the dark Romanian period of “the 1960s is illustrated in the novel, an oppressive period when everything that was written without taking into account the political rules was elliminated and as a result, it was maintained only the conventional direction of the proletcultist literature”, a fact which determined Ioan Petru Culianu’s option for the definitive, irreversible exile, starting from the year of 1972, “compelled by unpropitious conditions”. In addition, the interdicition to leave his native country was overwhelming for the Romanian writer, because it minimized his working time concerning the fields of research studied in order to improve his knowledge, as one can infer from Mircea Eliade’s observation regarding the future of his disciple: Concerning Romanians, students or “post-doctorals”, things are even more complicated, due to the USA-RSR cultural agreement. The Government of Romania should consent. (…) I have heard, yet, that the Government of Bucharest accepts Romanians’ stay in other countries even five years after the visa expires, if a pertinent argument is brought pro forma.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 41). Mircea Eliade shows in this paragraph of the letter he sent in 1972 the communist negation of individual freedom and independence to choose the period somebody can stay in a foreign country and the appropriate place where somebody wants to evolve at the cultural level. However, the help that comes from Mircea Eliade is omnipresent and doesn’t lack from his letters, in spite of any obstacle that appears in the way of reaching the final objective, that each dark prediction of future is suddenly converted into a fulfilment and this approach becomes the expression of the positive existential attitude, which is typical of both the fictional universe and the concrete, profane reality of Mircea Eliade. At this level, Mircea Eliade is the major personality “hidden” in the back of his disciple’s professional success, not only by means of the help he gave him with social interactions, with different professors at prestigious universities worldwide, but also through the reading suggestions he gave to his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu in order to improve the content and relevance of the articles he published, these articles taking their final shape after the approval of his master Mircea Eliade. As one can see it, all the epistolary conversations between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu, illustrated in the volume of Correspondence clarify the exemplary relationship of the ideative collaboration between the master and the disciple and the similarities and differences established between the two writers’ systems of thought.

The first argument in favour of the idea of the complementarity between the master Mircea Eliade and the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu is represented by the editorial exigency of Mircea Eliade, who imposes the rigorous follow of various initiation stages and as a result, suggests his disciple to revise the article he has sent and to read more works which illustrate the topic he is interested in, and also offers him an impressive list of bibliographical sources, in order to determine Ioan Petru Culianu to notice the limiting cultural horizon of his native country, unfortunately influenced by the unpropitious communist censorship. By doing this, Mircea Eliade wants to activate the impulse of his disciple to exceed himself, making him to accept living in another country which is culturally open. Mircea Eliade imperiously wants to determine Ioan Petru Culianu to study in a new country, in order to have a good cultural knowledge, because he is firmly convinced that in the exhaustive field of the history of religions, not anybody can make a good work, but only the one who has the profound wish of spiritual enlightenment or “that”coup de foudre: “you have it or not.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence). The bibliographical sources suggested to his disciple are texts from Mircea Eliade’s domain of research, such as the Indian medicine and philosophy, a fact which illustrates these themes as fundamental similarities of the two systems of thought, developped by both writers, through a prolific epistolary exchange of ideas: “In the letter you sent me on September, 4, you were talking about “the inner sense” as “almost finished” and were asking me “if it could have been published”. For your benefit and not to jeopardize your later scientific prestige, I think it is better for you to wait. Even after the abbreviated version and with the incomplete references I have read so far, I have got the feeling that you should continue the research and make it more profound. There should be removed a series of outdated works and studies you have mentioned in your articles. There is a large bibliography concerning concepts like: manas, hrdaya, etc. from medical theories, such as: Dasgupta, The History, second volume and a lot of recent interesting studies written by J. Filliozat. What you need is an important, well known centre of research, with good libraries and experts (like Bausani, etc.).” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, pp. 44-45). Furthermore, inner determination or intrinsic motivation that Mircea Eliade wants to be interiorized by his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu becomes authentic in the volume of Correspondence by means of both negative and positive answers’ alternation concerning Ioan Petru Culianu’s scientific articles. However, this alternative prototype becomes the pedagogic model of sustaining the talent of a disciple, through the predilection of positive feedback in appreciating his qualities by the master, even though a few secondary aspects linked to the way of writing, elaboration and documentation should be improved and need drawing attention to them: “For your age and due to the harsh conditions you worked in your country, the article (as well as all the texts I read last year), it is quite praiseworthy. I have no doubt that, once you find your place somewhere, you will make progresses in a remarkable time and rythm of work.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 46).

Ioan Petru Culianu’s unpropitious situation at the beginning of his cultural exploration in other countries, oscillating between his option for Italy and that for Canada, keeping in mind his central aim to follow his master in America, is recognized by Mircea Eliade and perceieved as an “initiation” experience in his way to success: “You have been passing through so many hard attempts, that I cannot have any doubt about their, let’s say,” initiation feature. (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 51). As one can notice from his epistolary confession, the master Mircea Eliade transposes himself in his disciple’s situation, because he finds Ioan Petru Culianu’s condition quite similar to him. The unhappy life experience of disciple Ioan Petru Culianu follows the prototype of multiple “symbolic deaths” triggered by social failures and their maximal point is represented by his revival. As one can see it, such scenario is similar to William Butler Yeats’ theory of decay and renewal (<Latin renovatio) when he explains the up and down history of The Roman Empire, by means of the concentric circles. As Ioan Petru Culianu’s sister, Tereza Culianu-Petrescu states in the footnotes from the Interrupted Dialogues between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu volume, the assumption of the bad principle as the a priori condition of the opposite one, the good principle is an Indian influence, because the accumulation of suffering inside the human being impetuously imposes the necessity of liberation and finally, when it is reached, it is much more appreciated. However, from our perspective, the dichotomy established between the principles of good and bad, converted into a fundamental ontological prototype in Mircea Eliade’s theoretical system, due to the positive state that continuously follows the negative experiences of life, illustrates the dualistic nature of Mircea Eliade’s thought, which has also been appropriated by his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu, because it is presented in his scientific works of history of religions, such as: The Dualist Gnoses of the Occident and The Dictionary of Religions, the latter written in collaboration with his master Mircea Eliade. In other words, the binary vision concerning spiritual aspects is shared by both writers, which shows again the circularity of ideas, and it has an important role in shaping the optimistic attitude upon life. If Mircea Eliade on the one hand, appreciates that all the initiation attempts his disciple has to overcome are preliminary and compulsory stages he has to follow, in his way of reaching the final objective of success, and from this point of view, human existence is a chain of events that continuously ocillates between the extremes represented by the principles of good and bad, Ioan Petru Culianu on the other hand, takes over this vision upon life and extrapolates the distinction between these two fundamental principles of good and bad at the spiritual and cosmic level, by illustrating The Dualist Gnoses of the Occident: ”The most important thing, probably the only relevant aspect, is not to lose your courage.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 51) is the vehement message that Mircea Eliade conveys to his disciple. However, this approach to life concentrates the Indian philosophy upon life, by means of the Buddhist assumption of the fact that nothing exists in this world without suffering, and the individual should overcome all the obstacles, a difficult mission at first sight, but which can be accomplished by taking into consideration the aim of Bhagavad-Gïta to liberate or free yourself from the results of your deeds, through indifference. In other words, the human being should continue his or her activity, but simultaneously live the events detached from them, the fundamental distinction established by Mircea Eliade between the sacred and the profane being taken from the Indian existential philosophy. From our point of view, Ioan Petru Culianu assumes Mircea Eliade’s perspectives upon life and introduces the concepts of “cosmic energy” and “individual energy”, in order to add new information to the Indian message of Bhagavad-Gïta. According to the new Ioan Petru Culianu’s interpretation, the process of energy preservation can take place if we free ourselves from the results of our deeds.

The first stage of Ioan Petru Culianu’s professional evolution has been passed, because he has succeded in hiring himself as professor at the History of Religions Department from University of Milan, Italy, an important fact his master Mircea Eliade was extremely proud of, due to the fact that in order to achieve Ioan Petru Culianu’s aim to get a professor position at an American university, Italian experience in the field of history of religions was precious and highly appreciated. The encouragement and development of Ioan Petru Culianu’s native potential do not lack from the letters sent to him by his master Mircea Eliade: “Gnosticism and its roots are really appropriate issues to be studied by a young man with your high graduation and new ideas. I’m waiting impatiently the articles you have published in Romania and those which are going to be published.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 60). As one can notice, the Gnostic and dualistic nature of Ioan Petru Culianu’s thought is influenced by Mircea Eliade, who, as we can infer from the pages of the Correspondence volume, consents Ioan Petru Culianu’s work of research and suggests various alternatives to write his articles, by means of an extended bibliographical list, improving the spiritual, cultural and editorial activity of his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu, because both the confirmation and invalidation answers coming from his master Mircea Eliade gave him a feeling of security on his research pathway.

Ioan Petru Culianu’s successful activity develops slowly but surely, under the protective supervision of his master Mircea Eliade, who never forgets to remember an optimistic thought in every letter addressed to his disciple: “In a few words: Please, make sure that everything is going to be fine. Marghescu will surely help you! Obviously, I will support you whenever it will be necessary.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 67). Mircea Eliade’s concern for the intellectual and professional path of his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu is obvious, as he becomes, at this level, a truly model of spiritual generosity, because he impetuously wants to preserve a certain continuity of religious, cultural and literary ideas, through his disciple, by offering precious reccomendations for him at different prestigious universities worldwide, in order to build him a successful didactic career, which would make his American dream become true.

From our perspective, the letter sent on June 25, 1975 is important in the sense that it reveals the essence of the master and disciple collaboration, especially because this text includes the central directions of shaping the research material, which are illustrated by the master Mircea Eliade and followed afterwards with accuracy by the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu.

On the one hand, the suggestion of writing a monograph belongs to Mircea Eliade: “I think that I wasn’t clear about your book: my idea was that it would be quite preferable to start with a monograph.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 69), and Ioan Petru Culianu’s option to capture his master’s stages of evolution appears as a simultaneous attempt both to imitate the model and surpass it, if we take into account his preoccupation of clarifying his master’s contradictory political past. The main aspect that Mircea Eliade does not agree on at the level of the monographic approach of his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu is his involvement in a dark subject, that is the one of the political past, about which Mircea Eliade stated that his apparent sympathy for The Iron Guard was due exclusively to his veneration for the mentor Nae Ionescu, who constantly reminded during his rhetorical discourses or lectures about this political movement and as a result, he elliminates, from the diversity of his literary works’ interpretations, the political one that his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu wants to introduce in his biographical work about Mircea Eliade: “Concerning the political meaning you have found and unravelled at the level of On Mântuleasa Street (Ro. Pe strada Mântuleasa) and The Raincoat (Ro. Pelerina) short stories… I honestly tell you I have never thought about something like this.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 136). Moreover, Ioan Petru Culianu’s concern to write a book about Mircea Eliade is very relevant in this analysis, because it shows the process of elaboration in case of an important monographic work, by means of correspondence, exchange of ideas, and this prototype becomes a model to be followed nowadays by the writers who want to realize monographs about Postmodernist writers, for example. Mircea Eliade appreciates the content of his disciple’s biographical book in which he is the main character, positive feedback becoming part of the master’s strategy to make his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu to start new, unexpected, revolutionary research projects: As far as I have read (pp. 1-56, pp. 102 – 08), the book seems well balanced, useful for the unspecialized people and thrilling for specialists, because you bring a lot of information concerning “the beginnings”. (…) After freeing yourself from this effort, I hope you will focus on one of the projects you have already started.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 99).

On the other hand, the initiative of writing a Dictionary of Religions, open to various types of public – including those unspecialized in this field – also belongs to Mircea Eliade and the project is continued by his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu, partially following the indications provided by his master: “I would like to see you without being worried about your PhD thesis and exams… Among others, I would like to make you a proposal of collaboration regarding a Dictionary of History of Religions, about which I have been thinking for long time and for which I have written a lot of articles, published in various encyclopedias, (…) insisting on the key terms (concepts, structures, figures, myth, ritual, witchcraft and so on) and in a few words concerning the main content (Indra, Osiris, Milarepa, etc.).” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, pp. 69-70). The comparison between Mircea Eliade’s articles about the history of religions, the epistolary confessions illustrated above and the content of the Dictionary of Religions, which appeared after Mircea Eliade’s death, reveals us the absence of the key concepts’ clarification from Mircea Eliade’s method of research, which can be found, for instance, in the encyclopedic work of The Book of the History of Religions, and this aspect clarifies Ioan Petru Culianu’s attitude of negation upon the mythical, primordial beginning from the analysis of spiritual philosophies, even though it cannot be definitively elliminated and this attitude creates a separation between the systems of thought belonging to both writers, representing the first attempt to surpass his master: “You should introduce in this dictionary the articles you are interested in, such as: Gnosticism, the beginnings of Christianity, etc. and the majority of short notes concerning gods, mystical persons, reformers, etc.; the last ones, obviously taken rapidly from different sources, because, due to their concision, they do not involve an original interpretation.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 70).

Ioan Petru Culianu’s refusal to take a scholarship and leave in India disheartens his master, and this aspect emphasizes the great impact Indian philosophy has on Mircea Eliade: “I am so glad you will spend some time in India.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 72) and one year later, in a letter, he strongly advises him: “If I were you, I would have chosen India, apart from all the risks to be banished one day…” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 82). The great influence Indian culture had on Mircea Eliade is illustrated by both the nostalgic confession and suspension points which intensify the effects of the advice, by reminding his personal experience through the use of 1st – person singular form of pronouns.

2. The Disciple Ioan Petru Culianu Following the Initiation Labyrintic Path, Shaped by the Master Mircea Eliade in the Volume of Correspondence

The major features concerning Ioan Petru Culianu’s perspective in the letters addressed to his master are illustrated by: his respectful attitude upon Mircea Eliade, his constantly concern about the master’s and his wife’s health, and his wish of self-surpassing by overcoming all the stages and obstacles emphasized by his master.

However, Ioan Petru Culianu’s separation from Mircea Eliade is realized by means of his apparent and incomplete appropriation of Indian existential philosophy and as a result, he finds all the intellectual challenges quite exhausting, at the same time admitting the power of his master’s advice to overcome all the negative obstacles in his way to spiritual perfection and negating the complete fusion, up to self - identification with the ideal model represented by his master Mircea Eliade: I don’t exist any longer, there is more and more my duty to exist, to “do”. (…) Now I accept this lifestyle, but I’m not happy with it. I don’t want to seem like I imitate Mircea Eliade again, but ever since I was 15, when I hadn’t known any of his books yet, I was tormenting myself with the idea of “objective judgement” or “objectivation” (I named it like this.) Afterwards, I discovered this experience when I was 19, at Novalis. Now my “objectivation” means seclusion. (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 90). As I see it, the critical point of view upon the process of “objectifying” personal experience, which has been the most important aim of Modernist prose, shows Ioan Petru Culianu’s wish to introduce himself in the literary and gnoseological field as a new, original personality, the impulse of negating all the previous principles, theories and well known literary works being a natural externalization of creative writers.

Another argument in favour of the premise that Ioan Petru Culianu’s scientific research strongly influences his daily life – specialized concepts turning into analytical filters of existence – is the writer’s belief that energy is the key concept used to explain the evolution of this world, social interactions and individual inner resources to finalize various actions: “I don’t think for now that I’ve lost ”the bet”: everything depends on my health, meaning the quantity of energy that I could use for the following years.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 105). Moreover, astrology becomes the mystical field which has the power to explain the mysteries of the surrounding world in the writer’s real life, by means of noticing the revealing signs: “I hope that Mrs. Sibylle feels better and I wish her quick recovery, but I have no doubt she’s going to be fine. My friend Tui Sung Capricorn told me that…Tui Sung Capricorn, which I am wearing around my neck for a while and which, living very high, takes over gods’ messages more easily…” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 122). The presence of the suspension points shows the large knowledge Ioan Petru Culianu has regarding Chinese astrology and the belief that it represents an efficient way to direct and influence human existence. At this level, one can notice an interesting similarity concerning both writers’ presentation of the signs that offer significance to human actions, due to their transcendental nature, those being a means of mediation between the unknown, metaphysical, divine universe and the individual. On the one hand, Mircea Eliade encourages his characters to notice the apparently trifling revealing signs, everywhere and every time, by means of the sacred principle’s camouflage in the profane dimension of reality. On the other hand, his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu feels that the interpretation of astrological maps is quite important in providing the significance of the events. An eloquent example is the predominance of astrological representations in The Emerald Game novel (Jocul de smarald), used to confirm or anticipate different human and social actions or events.

Mircea Eliade’s optimism, for whom “Everything has a secret meaning.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 107) becomes contagious, because, initially discouraged by his humble situation, but at the same time aimed by his hidden dream to become a professor at the History of Religions Department in an American university, Ioan Petru Culianu acquires new strengths and works with an intellectual conscientiousness which assures his later success that finally came to the horizon, as his master Mircea Eliade always had anticipated: “I’m trying to follow “my heart” to the end, because I feel that’s how it should be. As usual, I have no hopes at all and I’m still suffering. I don’t know why. Anyway, I feel a lot of strength inside of me and I “burn the time”. (Abhinavagupta).” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 111). His accuracy to write down the source of this existential perspective upon “death in life”, by reminding the name of the Hindoo philosopher Abhinavagupta, illustrates the fact that he knows very well and wants to constantly appropriate Indian culture, converted into a lifestyle, as his master Mircea Eliade chose to do.

The liberal direction of Ioan Petru Culianu’s thought is confirmed firstly by his certainty about the validity of the interdisciplinary research method of ontological phenomena, an approach which can be found in his scientific works, and secondly, by his perspective upon liberty, mentioned in his letters addressed to his master: “I define my freedom as a right to oppose myself against any claim of possessing absolute truth.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 119). The recognition of the relativism typical of any epistemological approach and the wish of a continuous self-shaping and improvement illustrate Ioan Petru Culianu’s complex personality, who confidently follows the knowledge pathway designed by his master.

Another important aspect that takes many pages of the Correspondence volume between both writers is Ioan Petru Culianu’s concern with the negative impression hidden in the collective unconscious of many people about Mircea Eliade, which is connected to his apparent sympathy for The Iron Guard, due to the fact that, for instance, he was not welcomed in Great Britain for this reason, as Mircea Handoca informs us in his work entitled Mircea Eliade – a huge eternal figure (Mircea Eliade – un uriaș peste timp). His disciple Ioan Petru Culianu tried to counteract such defamatory information concerning his master, by writing some eager feedbacks in a lot of foreign publications, which succeeded in restoring the public image of Mircea Eliade’s personality. Just as Mircea Eliade follows the way shown by his mentor Nae Ionescu, from his admiration upon him and without being totally influenced by it, because he built a system of his own beliefs and moral values, so does Ioan Petru Culianu when he accepts his master’s honest confession about the apparent sympathy and with no depth upon The Iron Guard, which appeared only as an expression of respect for his mentor, as one can notice in a letter Mircea Eliade wrote in 1978: “My sympathy for The Iron Guard was indirect, through Nae Ionescu and had no influence in my way of thinking and writings.” (Eliade & Culianu, Correspondence, p. 130). The only aspect that Mircea Eliade was fascinated about this political movement was the initiative and determination to establish a new political climate, which motivated the writer to create an opportunity for a new generation of intellectual young men with reformatory visions, that is named “The 1930 Generation”, belonging to personalities like: Constantin Noica, Mircea Vulcănescu, Eugen Ionescu who had the aim to express the Romanian soul using universal terms.

3. The List of Verbal Groups that Show the Collaboration between the Disciple Ioan Petru Culianu and the Master Mircea Eliade

At a pragmatic level, the predominance of the 2nd person, plural number of verbs, accompanied by personal and reflexive pronouns at the same person and number, conveys the respectful attitude of the disciple upon his master: „vă amintiți, vă trimit, vă spuneam etc.”(Ro.) (En.: “Do you remember, I send you, I told you, etc.”). However, one can notice important differences between the two languages: Romanian and English, which are singular and plural distinction and the deferential attitude, triggered by the forms of the personal and reflexive pronouns placed in front of verbs in Romanian language, while English makes these aspects possible by a pragmatic deduction of the context.

Another interesting aspect that can be inferred from the symmetrical disposing or in the mirror display of the two different lists of verbs accompanied by pronouns is the self-centredness or egocentrism of the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu, illustrated on the one hand by the form of the verb and on the other hand, by the form of the pronoun:

List 1 – 1st person, singular no verbs

List 2 – 1st person, singular no pronouns

I send you

You gave me precious advice.

I tell you

Would you allow me to ask you something?

At this level of the epistolary discourse’s analysis, one can notice the egocentric organization of the disciple’s text, by the use of the 1st person. Ioan Petru Culianu places himself as the central figure Mircea Eliade is concerned about, and this fact shows his wish of self-surpassing and the need to achieve a high level of spiritual development.

4. The Pragmasemantic Analysis of Nominal Structures from the Volume of Correspondence between the Disciple and the Master

On the one hand, the addressing formula of the disciple Ioan Petru Culianu towards his master Mircea Eliade follows the conventions of epistolary writing, by means of a nominal structure defined as the expression of the deferential attitude: “Dear Sir”.

On the other hand, Mircea Eliade’s informal addressing to his disciple, starting from October 27, 1974 is oppossed to their first dialogues from the 1972-1974 period, which include the polite addressing: “Dear Sir” and which can be considered the time interval Mircea Eliade needed to observe the analytical and scientific abilities of his disciple Ioan Petru Culianu.

In conclusion, the volume of The Interrupted Dialogues between Mircea Eliade and Ioan Petru Culianu is an important book in the sense that its analysis certifies the circularity of both writers’ ontological and literary perspectives, by means of the complementary relationship established between the master and the disciple and Indian existential optimism Mircea Eliade suggested to Ioan Petru Culianu in his letters, in order to bring up his disciple’s intrinsic motivation to build a vast knowledge of the world, that is absolutely necessary to a historian of religions.

5. Bibliography

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1 Ovidius University of Constanta, Faculty of Letters, Romania, Address: Aleea Universitatii Nr. 1, Constanta, Romania Tel.: +40241551773, Corresponding author:

AUDC, Vol. 11, no 1/2017, pp. 102-115


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