Youth Without Youth

Youth Without Youth

Book - 2007
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Bucharest, 1938: while Hitler gains power in Germany, the Romanian police start arresting students they suspect of belonging to the Iron Guard. Meanwhile, a man who has spent his life studying languages, poetry, and history--a man who thought his life was over--lies in a hospital bed, inexplicably alive and miraculously healthy, trying to figure out how to conceal his identity.

At the intersection of the natural and supernatural, myth and history, dream and science, lies Mircea Eliade's novella. Now in its first paperback edition, the psychological thriller features Dominic Matei, an elderly academic who experiences a cataclysmic event that allows him to live a new life with startling intellectual capacity. Sought by the Nazis for their medical experiments on the potentially life-prolonging power of electric shocks, Matei is helped to flee through Romania, Switzerland, Malta and India. Newly endowed with prodigious powers of memory and comprehension, he finds himself face to face with the glory and terror of the supernatural. In this surreal, philosophy-driven fantasy, Eliade tests the boundaries of literary genre as well as the reader's imagination.

Suspenseful, witty, and poignant, Youth Without Youth illuminates Eliade's longing for past loves and new texts, his erotic imagination, and his love of a thrilling mystery. It was adapted for the screen in 2007 as Francis Ford Coppola's first feature film in over ten years.

"A wonderful blend of realism, surrealism, and fantasy, [Eliade's novellas] suggest the importance of the mythic and the supernatural to finding meaning in the everyday. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal

" Youth Without Youth reads like a surreal collaboration by Jorge Luis Borges, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Carl Jung. Mircea Eliade left me with the rare sense that I had been entertained by a genius."--William Allen, author of Starkweather and The Fire in the Birdbath and Other Disturbances
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2007
Edition: University of Chicago Press ed
ISBN: 9780226204154
Branch Call Number: FICTION Eliade
Characteristics: ix, 137 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Ricketts, Mac Linscott


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Jan 22, 2013

NEGATIVE RATED: How to deconstruct this awful, puerile, infantile and self-absorbed tract (my apologies, so many blurbs describe this University of Chicago academic as a "great writer" -- perhaps in an alternate universe?)? At times it reads like an advertisement for the Rockefeller Foundation (Oh, of course! The University of Chi. was principally financed by the Rockefeller family), at other times it is so pathetically boring, and with an intro by the director, Francis Ford Coppola that will convince you that he's an idiot --- although he does manage to sneak in that his daugher was responsible for that horrible paean to "American Exceptionalism" -- "Lost in Translation" (recall walking out of that movie quite early in). A major pass on this pile of claptrap.

theorbys Aug 20, 2012

Having seen Coppola's film, I was curious about the book (Coppola's short introduction was very interesting). The first half of the novella holds together well, but the second half is somewhat rambling and disjointed, without evoking any strong sense of mystery. He seems to have been somewhat inspired by comic books: lightning strikes a man giving him psychic powers and youth (similar to the preposterous origin of the Flash or Fantastic Four-(he has the Reed Richards like power of knowing the contents of books by just reading a line or two of them)). Probably Eliade was aware of comics as a myth scholar (not saying he poured over them). The point of this may have been that nuclear war will, and must, wipe out civilization and give humanity a new start to build a better future.
The main influence is Frankenstein, where electricity is to give birth to a "new" man. Positive electricity this time.


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