Letters from Evola to Eliade

28 May 1930, Rome
I received your letter. I remember you perfectly. One of your friends here [in Rome] had already told me that you had gone to India [in November 1928].

I would very much like to know what you found there in the natural order of things that are of interest to us: that of practice, more than that of doctrine or metaphysics.

I was thinking, and am still thinking (since I am at the point of having finished what I had attempted to do in the West) of going to India to stay there. One of my correspondents convinced me that it would not be worth the trouble, unless I go to Kashmir or Tibet and I have a way to introduce myself into some of the rarest centers that still conserve the Tradition but are excessively suspicious of any foreigners.

Nevertheless, I would be grateful if you could inform me of what you found in addition, with the understanding not from the cultural or metaphysical point of view.

I am sending you:
* One of the last existing copies of the complete Ur collection from 1928.
* The complete Krur collection from 1929.
* My book on Tantra [Man as power]
My books that have appeared since then are:
* Pagan Imperialism
* Theory of the Absolute Individual
* Phenomenology of the Absolute Individual

The last two constitute the systematic and definitive exposition of my doctrine. Currently, I am editor of “La Torre”, two issues of which I include. Before Ur, I didn’t edit any journals.

Aside from what you received, there is only the Ur collection of 1927 which is out of print. If you want, I can let you know if there is anyone who can sell it and at what price.

If professor Dasgupta, with whom you stayed [January to September 1930], is the author of the books on Hindu philosophy, please ask him if Sir Douglas Ainslie, whom he knows very well and is my friend, remembered to write to him—as he had promised me—so that he has his publisher send me the two volumes that have already appeared, which I could talk about in Italy or Germany.

15 Dec 1951
Enough time has passed since I received your last letter and our relation was reestablished after the war. In this period I often heard talk about you and your activity. Naturally I read, with interest, the works that you courteously sent me and I did not miss notifying my friends who could be interested in them and probably they have also written to you.

Recently a newly revised and expanded edition of my Revolt against the Modern World appeared and I think I mentioned in it your Treatise on the History of Religions [not true]. But about this, and I say it a little tongue in cheek, one should employ some Vergeltungen [revenge]. The fact is striking that your work are so overly concerned not to mention in your works any author that does not strictly belong to the official university literature, of the type that in your works is found, e.g., that lovable good man Pettazzoni [Italian professor of religion] is abundantly cited, while not a single word is found about Guenon, but not even other authors whose ideas are much closer to those that permit you to certainly orient yourself in the material that you write about. It stands to reason that this is something that concerns only you, but it would be the chance to ask yourself if, all things considered, if imposing these “academic” limitations is a game that is worth the candle. I hope that you will not resent these friendly observations.

I’ve been told that some difficulties arose for Enaudi [the Italian publisher] about your translations due to a ridiculous communist veto. Is it true? If so, will these translations be sold again? (I believe they are the Treatise and Yoga.) It is possible that in this case I can be useful, even if you are already arranging with sufficiently effective relations, like those around Giuseppe Tucci and through Pettazzoni’s objection.

As far as it concerns me, in your letter of last year you were so kind to give me the address of a man of your acquaintance, who, you said, could be useful for marketing the French translations of my books. To tell the truth, I wrote him once, but without receiving a response. Now I would like to make other attempts for the same goal. While some relations were already able to be established with other countries, for France still nothing; Mr. Gallimard had taken himself the initiative to ask Laterza for the rights for two of my books after the war, but I have not heard anything more from him since. I permit myself to ask you, dear sir, if you could and would give me some advice in this regard. I would value especially the translation of Revolt which was already accepted by De Noel), and I wondered if the same publisher of your Treatise could be interested in it. Possibly you could introduce me to Mr. Dumezil, who is one of your friends and must exercise an important role with this publisher. Moreover, I now intend to learn more about the work of this author, whom I have read little, because I’ve been told that he made some interesting contributions to a line of research in which I myself am particularly interested (warrior initiation).

I’ve also been told that one of your new books, on Shamanism, was just published; if the publisher is still distributing some samples via post, perhaps you will have the courtesy to provide them with my address. Where is your work on sacred orgies found? I have been gathering some material for an essay on sex magic.

I have returned to Rome for good [after his convalescence and brief imprisonment] at my old address. Should you ever come to Italy, I hope that we will be able to meet each other here.

31 Dec 1951
Many thanks for your courteous letter and thanks also for having arranged the sending of your new book [Shamanism], that I will read with particular interest. Then I will tell you what are the possibilities at Laterza [a publisher]; it stands to reason that I will do my best to be useful.

As regards your clarifications regarding your relations with academic “masonry”, I find them somewhat satisfactory. It would therefore be less a question about methodology than pure tactic, and there would be nothing to say against the attempt to introduce any Trojan horse into the university citadel. The important thing would be to not let yourself take part, in any way, in a deception, because a sort of “psychic current” meets in academic circles, with the possibility of a subtle deforming and contaminating influence. But I think that, both as the interior foundation, and through your probable relations with circles qualified in a different way, you can defend yourself from this danger.

As to “methodology”, you well know that I seek to follow a middle way since, differently from most “esoterists”, I am also concerned to produce research rather satisfactory from the “scientific” point of view. What you undertake in the fields of the science of religions and mythology, I undertook may years ago, but in the field of academic philosophy that was then absolute idealism. The direction was the same: to show that the most important problems of this philosophy cannot be resolved, if it does not go beyond “philosophy” tout court. But after this contribution, expressed in three books (I recently revised one, the Theory of the Absolute Individual, and I think it useful for have it republished as an account of it), I had enough of it. I don’t know the environment of the Sorbonne; as it concerns Italy, at least until recently it was not necessary to disguise oneself too much, since I myself had received the assignment to teach some courses in the universities of Milan and Florence; but my conclusion was that the game is not worth the candle; and the repulsion for the types and the cabals of the university world is for me physiological.

Since you mention Mr. Guenon in particular, I think that a useful action would consist in developing certain aspects of his doctrine that suffer from an fundamentally arbitrary dogmatism since, all things considered, the mixing of traditional data with individual points of view was inevitable even in his case. So much more in France, but also in Italy, groups were formed that follow the master in manner of the “head of the class”, redoubling the dogmatic certainty and claiming to be the only ones to administer “orthodoxy”; that thing is somewhat tiresome and can only be harmful to what is best in Guenon.

I am very obligated to you for your intention to help me get some of my books published in French. With Gallimard and De Noel the thing is only interrupted; as for the latter publisher, the person who mediated and had already begun the translation of Revolt has vanished. Regarding the former, after the attempt he made at Leterza, no one any longer knows what happened and although I had written myself, they gave no response. In any case, I think that Payot has some book series in which the two books you mention (Revolt against the Modern World and Doctrine of Awakening) would fit in rather well, since they would be among the works that are certainly no more “scientific” than mine. The important thing is that they do not encounter prejudices of principle; these, moreover, could be reduced through the fact that the German and English translations appeared in very “respectable” publishers. In any case, I think that the best thing is to wait for your return to Paris, before making any attempts and before I send the books. Consequently, I ask you to write me a few words when you return to Paris.

It pleases me to learn that you will come again to Italy. Since I would not want to lose the opportunity for a meeting, I ask you to alert me when your plans are definitive, so I can adjust my schedule, since it is possible that I will leave Rome in the spring for a certain period.

With my best wishes – in signo solis invicti – for the new cycle, very cordially yours …

source + Evola - Eliade Correspondence, Italian edition, ed. by Claudio Mutti