ISBN. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Eliade, Mircea, [Maitreyi. English] Bengal nights I Mircea Eliade ; translated by Catherine. published a semi-autobiographical novel, Maitreyi (Bengal Nights), rights militant Maitreyi Devi, which appeared in as Na Hanyate. KEYWORDS: Mircea Eliade, Maitreyi Devi, Subaltern Cultures, World. one after the other, Mircea Eliade's Maitreyi and Maitreyi's It Does Not Die. Bengal Nights (Maitreyi) is a youth writing of Mircea Eliade, based of real events he.
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Malamir B. Spassov Mircea Eliade's Maitreyi Between Traditional Morals and Modern Identity Mircea Eliade was a graduate of Bucharest University's Faculty of . Maitreyi book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Set in s Calcutta, this is a roman á clef of remarkable intimacy. Ori. Read online or Download Maitreyi by Mircea Eliade (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper) For.
download this book site. Share this book Facebook. History Created April 30, 9 revisions Download catalog record: Wikipedia citation Close.
April 5, Edited by ImportBot. April 29, February 2, Edited by acscosta.
August 12, Edited by IdentifierBot. April 30, He eventually left the country. And Maitreyi, she got married to someone else.
That, roughly, is the framework of both Mircea and Maitreyi's works. The difference lies in their separate tellings. Ginu Kamani, who has written the paper "A Terrible Hurt: The Untold Story Behind the Publishing of Maitreyi Devi" accuses Mircea of rendering Maitreyi into "a caricature of a tantric goddess" and calls the work a "self-indulgent fantasy".
Kamani is "overwhelmed" by Maitreyi's book though, "thoroughly discrediting his version of their relationship In any case, at the end of two weeks, she left for Germany, where she is currently studying to become a high school teacher and stories of her Calcutta experience passed into the realms of the host family lore.
All stories except the Maitreyi story. That one, because of its unfamiliar familiar character, remained wedged between memory and telling, neither completely rejected, nor completely understood.
Mostly because, here and now in Maitreyi's own land, neither the book nor its author has as much recall among current generations as it once did. And as we will find out, even that was nothing compared to the mass appeal both continue to hold for Romanians. Recently, a good two years after Teodora's visit, what she said about Maitreyi came streaming back to consciousness as one stumbled upon posters of what could be a film or a play or an exhibition titled Maitreyi.
A very long Engagement
The juxtaposition of the Romanian and Bengali names amused and surprised. Later, in an email from Paris, poet and essayist Fevronia Novac, who has a published paper on Maitreyi Devi's response to Mircea's novel, said it is a recent play directed by Chris Simion.
She specified that playing the senior Maitreyi's role was Maya Morgenstern, "one of Romania's best actresses".
Chris, who is based in Bucharest, is too busy to be pinned down for an interview. But in biletmaster. It reads: "The first time I came to know the story was during adolescence, when it was included in the school curriculum as mandatory reading for the graduation exam.
The second time coincided with my trip to India Teodora and Chris occupy different age boxes, about 15 years apart. But should you look up online book reviews, you will find an even younger audience with last names like Mazilu, Anghel, Iticescu, Pinzariu, posting comment after comment about Maitreyi. Blogs and discussion forums also abound.
Though the temptation is great, we will desist from an apple to apple comparison between the Romanian interest in Maitreyi and the lack of it in Bengal. She seemed to have found a haven; fixing her gaze on mine, she gradually became calmer, her spasms ceased and she began to recover her normal state.
I do not know how long that look lasted. It was not like any other that Bengal Nights I had ever experienced. The examination over, Maitreyi once more took refuge by the window. We did not look at each other again, after that warm and clandestine moment of communion. I turned my attention to her father and from my vantage point I analysed him at leisure. I wondered how a man could be so ugly, could lack expression so completely. He resembled a frog: bulging eyes, enormous mouth, round, black, iron pot of a head, low forehead and jet-black curls, squat body and sloping shoulders, protruding belly, short legs.
The affection that this man inspired was difficult to comprehend - and yet I, too, found Narendra Sen a seductive being, sensitive and intelli gent, full of humour, gentleness and loyalty. Whilst I had been studying him in this way, his wife Srimati Devi Indira had entered the room, bringing with her some strange atmosphere of warmth and fear.
She was wearing a blue sari and a blue shawl sequined with gold. Her feet were bare; the soles and the toes were decorated with henna. She knew almost no English and smiled continually in place of speech. She had doubtlessly chewed a lot of pan that afternoon, for her lips were blood red. She astounded me. She seemed so young, so fresh and timid, that I would have taken her for Maitreyi's elder sister rather than her mother.
Chabu, her second daughter, had come in with her.
Bengal Nights - Mircea Eliade.pdf
She was a child of about eleven, short-haired and dressed in the European style, but without socks or shoes. Her bare calves and arms and her swarthy, sweet face reminded me of one of our European gypsies. I find it almost impossible to recount the incident that then took place. The three women had huddled up together on the couch, each with the same expression of terror in her eyes, while the engineer tried in vain to make them speak. The mistress of the house wanted to pour the tea, but she changed her mind and entrusted the task to her elder daughter.
Suddenly, the teapot was knocked over on to the tray - I do not know whose fault it was - and Lucien's trousers were drenched. Lucien, for his part, stood apologising in French without managing to make himself understood. Narendra Sen finally gestured for him to sit down again, saying, '"Scusez moi! Lucien and I sat dumbly, not knowing what to do with our hands nor where to look. My friend was quite flushed with embarrassment although on the way back to the hostel he laughed the incident off loudly.
Only Mrs Sen remained impassive, the same smile on her reddened lips, the same warm shyness in her eyes. The conversation hardly revived. The engineer showed Lucien some ancient Sanskrit texts that had belonged in the collection of his uncle, who had been the first government 'pandit', and then a series of pictures and old embroideries. I had gone to stand by the window and I looked out at the courtyard, a curious place closed in by high walls and planted with small shrubs and wisteria.
From the side of the house, above me, drifted the fragile scent of a palm-tree. I contem plated the view, uncertain of the origin of this enchantment, this tranquillity which I had never before experienced in Calcutta. And suddenly I heard an irresistible, contagious laugh, the laugh of both a woman and a child.
It gripped my heart, and I shivered. I leaned out of the window and beheld, stretched out across two steps of the courtyard stairs, Maitreyi, almost naked, her hair in her eyes, her arms clasped over her chest.
I saw her move her legs, quite shaken with laughter, and then, with a brisk jerk of her ankles, throw off her two slippers against the wall opposite. I stood transfixed, unable to avert my eyes. Those few moments seemed eternal. I felt that laugh and the wild flame of that unleashed body to be somehow sacred and I was certain that I was committing a sacrilege by witnes sing them.
Yet I did not have the strength to tear myself away. As we were leaving, Maitreyi's laugh echoed through the house.
I was at Tamluk, where I had gone upstream to walk. Two days earlier, Norinne had got engaged and we had celebrated all night. We had drunk too much, danced until we were dizzy, kissed all the girls and driven off in the small hours to the lakes. We had also planned a pyjama party, like the one we had held the previous March, when I quarrelled with Eddie Higgering and came to blows.
I had loved Norinne for a while, as we loved then, youngsters of twenty-four; I would willingly have held her in my arms, I would have danced with her - a few kisses and that was all.
I walked along tranquilly, my pipe in one hand and my stick in the other. The sun had not yet set the place alight, birds were chirping in the large bushes of eglantine and the air was heavy with their perfume of incense and cinnamon. Suddenly, in a flash of illumination, I grasped my extraordinary condition.
I was alone and I would die alone. The thought did not sadden me. Rather, I felt quiet, serene, at peace with the surrounding plain. If someone had told me I was to die in an hour, I would have accepted my fate calmly. I would have lain back in the grass, put my hands behind my head and, my eyes fixed on the blue ocean above me, waited for the time to run out, without counting the minutes or wanting to hurry them, almost without being conscious of them.
I do not know what instinctive and superhuman sense of majesty filled me. I could have done anything - although all desire had left me. It was as though my appetite for solitude in this enchanted ground had made me light-headed. I walked, lost in thought. I went back to the site still hungry for seclusion and peace.
I looked forward to the prospect of staying in my tent for a week - a week in which I would not read any magazines or see a single electric light bulb. The servant came to meet me. However, when eventually I had opened it, I stood surprised and disconcerted for several min utes. Narendra Sen was calling me back urgently to headquar ters. I was to take the train that evening.
It was with a feeling of heavy sadness that I sat at the window of my carriage and contemplated the steam-covered plain, filled with the diaphanous shadows of lone palm trees - the landscape which had welcomed me that morning, with such generosity, into the heart of its existence outside limits of time, beyond aims and conclusions.
How I wished I were free, sitting in my tent by the light ofa petrol lamp and listening to the huge orchestra of cicadas and grasshoppers around me. I thought of you at once, and the board has accepted you, under its own responsibility. You have three days to sort out your affairs and to hand over to your successor at Tamluk. I was to discover later that he had waged a hard battle with the board to have me, a white man, taken on.
The company was swarajist and wanted to filter out the last of its foreign employees, to replace them with Indians. My new post was both higher in rank and better paid. Instead of 2 s o rupees a 12 month, I would earn , exceeding even the salary of a sales representative for Noel and Noel. I was reluctant to work in Assam, a region that was unhealthy and barely civilized. However, my love for the jungle, which I had brought with me to India and which I had not yet been able to satisfy, triumphed.
I accepted the offer and thanked him warmly. The engineer put his hand on my shoulder: "My wife and I like you very much, Alain, and we often think of you. It is a pity you do not speak Bengali. I did indeed wonder - but only vaguely - why the engineer had chosen me, over all his compatriots, for the new post.
The answer I gave myself was simple: he appreciated my quali ties. I had a clear opinion of my talent for construction, my position as white civilizer and the service which I was rendering to India. When Harold learnt the news of my promotion in rank and salary, he at once wanted to celebrate with a small banquet in China Town. We invited some girls to come with us and set off in two taxis. Our group was noisy, bubbling over with high spirits and frivolity.
Coming out of Park Street on to Chowringhee Road, our two cars raced each other, each team shouting at the driver and tapping him on the shoulder to spur him on. Our charioteer was a magnificent Sikh who had fought in France during the war and he cried "Diable! Vin rouge! Vin blanc! Gertie was sitting on my knees, clutching me with terror she knew that I had just had a tidy increase in salary , repeating over and over: "I'm going to fall.
Aren't you afraid I'll fall? The others were gaining on us and we were dismayed at this unfortunate turn of events. At that moment, a car passed us and with horror I saw inside Narendra Sen, his wife and Maitreyi. I blushed like a fool as I greeted them, and Sen smiled back at me with something of contempt.
Maitreyi alone brought her palms to her forehead and returned my salutation. She appeared infinitely amused by the merry company around me and by the girl in my arms. I wanted to execute an Indian greeting in return but all at once I realized the ludicrousness of my situation. My panic lasted until our car moved off again. I turned, and caught sight of Maitreyi's shawl floating in the wind, the colour of weak tea.
My friends enjoyed themselves hugely over the respect and the embarrassment with which I had greeted a 'black'. Poor Harold, shocked at me once more, asked how I could be so friendly with a family of'negroes'.
The driver, however, was visibly exultant. When I paid him in front of the restaurant, he said to me in French, so the others would not understand, "Girl very nice, Sahib. Bahut accha! She was very beautiful. Do you love her? I had to take my friends out for a farewell party and as there were many of us, we economized by not taking a third taxi.
Everyone had a girl on his lap. There was nothing untoward, sir, or at least. It was obvious that, he found this litany of explanations excessive.
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He slapped me on the shoulder. You are worth more than this Anglo-Indian way of life. This hostel life will ruin you - you will never learn to love India if you live with these people.
Until then, he had asked only if I Bengal Nights were getting used to the food, if l had a good servant, if l were not suffering too much from the heat or the noise, if I liked tennis. We got down to work quickly. I had a pile of documents to sign. When it was time to leave, Sen asked me to dine with him at the Rotary Oub. None of my objections - that I was not properly dressed, that I was tired - satisfied him and I was forced to accept. By the end of the evening, however, I was not sorry I had come.
The admiration that the engineer's speech won from the distinguished audience was new proof that the man who had invited me to his table was of great worth and I felt that some of his glory must reflect on to me.
Mircea Eliade Maitreyi ( 1991)
I left for Shillong that same night. Only Harold accompanied me to the station, giving me some final advice: to beware of snakes, leprosy, malaria and stomach troubles. Today I leafed through my diary at length and re-read the pages written during my time in Assam. What great pains I had taken in deciphering my daily notes, to transfer them to the journal which began with my new life!
I was filled with the strange sentiment that I was leading the life of a veritable pioneer, and my work on the construction of railway lines through the jungle seemed to me far more useful to India than a dozen books written about her.
I was also sure that the en counter of this ancient world with our modern work had yet to find its novelist. I had discovered an India quite different from the one I had read about in sensational newspaper articles or books. I was living among tribes, with men who, until then, had been known only to ethnologists, amid that poisonous vegeta tion, under a never-ending rain and a humid and stifling heat. I wanted to give life to a region overrun by bracken and creepers, populated by men who were at once cruel and innocent.
I wanted to unearth the aesthetic and ethical life of these peo ples and each day I collected anecdotes, took photographs, drew up genealogies.
The deeper I ventured into this wild domain, the more consuming became a hitherto unconscious notion of my superiority, the more violently assertive a pride of which I would never have believed myself capable. I was well and truly in the jungle, no longer a social being with perfect self-control. But the rains! How many nights, tormented by depression, did I listen to the rhythmic and unforgettable sound of water falling off the roof.
And those extraordinary downpours Bengal Nights which lasted for days at a time, broken only by a few hours of very soft rain that fell like a hot spray. I would make my way. In the evenings, I would settle myself in the cool comfort of my room, or pace up and down the veranda of my bungalow, trying to rediscover the taste of my tobacco; the most minute precautions had not succeeded in protecting it from the humidity.
At times I felt I could bear the life no longer. I would clench my fists, hit the balustrade with savage blows and make off under the rain into the darkness, no matter where, towards a place where the skies did not pour forth a ceaseless deluge, where the grass was not so high, so humid, so dense.
I wanted to see flowers again, to walk in plains like those at Tamluk, to feel a salty breeze or the dry wind of the desert on my face. The lingering smells of putrefaction drove me almost to madness. I was alone with three servants and the warden of the bun galow. When a stranger came to visit - a jute plantation inspec tor, the collector or a tea merchant en route would drink a glass of whisky together. I also drank alone each evening, after my bath.
So tired that I barely had any sensation in my body - I could have fallen and cut myself, I would not have felt i t - my nerves were none the less jangling, on edge. I shook, my breathing was tortuous and each time I got up from my chair I was overcome by dizziness.
I would sit staring into space as though in a trance. All notion oftime disappeared.Bengal Nights was written by a European man in India Calcutta in the s , so I knew I was going to be shaking my head a lot. While he was driven soon after the outbreak of World War I in August by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Eliade learned Mircea Eliade DLB that he had difficulty learning things on demand.
Ches- reminiscent of Joyce. But the thing I dreaded most in my moments of depression occurred. A reaction which has been nagging at me for the last few days: Bengal Nights Mircea Eliade. I want you to feel at home here. The Anglo-Indians.
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