The Post-Historic Man in Mircea Eliade’s Speculative Fiction
Keywords:post-historic man, homo religiosus, homo cosmicus, posthumanism, sacred and profane, rebirth, Mircea Eliade, speculative fiction
The purpose of this study is to examine some of the ways in which the post-historic man appears in Mircea Eliade's speculative fiction. The need for this study is explained by the fact that although M Eliade is very well known as a theorist of the religious phenomenon, far less is known about his literary writings, as they remained in the background compared to his scientific work. Of Romanian origin, the scholar wrote his short prose and novels in the Romanian language, another obstacle in terms of adequate reception. However, his works of fiction are valuable, pertaining to the extensive genre of speculative fiction, going from fantasy and science fiction to counterfactual histories and mythic or popular narratives. In this context, various references to the divine appear, but also to man's purpose in the world and man’s attempts to surpass his limitations. The writer demonstrates vivid imagination, his fiction being able to meet the demands of both a general audience, but also a specialized one, concerned with the manifestations of the sacred and the profane in everyday existence. Through his literary achievements, Eliade proves to be a precursor of the postmodern wave in culture and of the posthumanist approaches within social research, the burden of meditation on the human condition being a permanent theme of his work.