For Călinescu, such a perspective on life culminated in "banality", leaving authors gripped by the "cult of the self" and "a contempt for literature". Polemically, Călinescu proposed that Mircea Eliade's supposed focus on "aggressive youth" served to instill his Romanian writers with the idea that they had a common destiny as a generation apart. He also commented that, when set in Romania, Mircea Eliade's stories lacked the "perception of immediate reality", and, analyzing the non-traditional names the writer tended to ascribe to his Romanian characters, that they did not depict "specificity". Additionally, in Călinescu's view, Eliade's stories were often " compositions of the illustrated magazine kind." Mircea Eliade's assessment of his own pre-1940 literary contributions oscillated between expressions of pride and the bitter verdict that they were written for "an audience of little ladies and high school students".
Mircea Eliade's other early works include ("Building Site"), a part-novel, part-diary account of his Indian sojourn. George Călinescu objected to its "monotony", and, noting that it featured a set of "intelligent observations", criticized the "banality of its ideological conversations." was also noted for its portrayal of and intoxication with , both of which could have referred to Eliade's actual travel experience.
Born in Romania in 1907, Mircea Eliade became one of the twentieth century’s preeminent scholars of religion, writing some 1,300 publications, including dozens of books, during his 60-year career. In 1928, after completing a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Bucharest, he went to India for three years. There, while studying Sanskrit and Indian philosophy with Surendranath Dasgupta at the University of Calcutta, he also encountered Mahatma Gandhi as well as Rabindranath Tagore, and lived six months at Rishikesh of Swami Sivananda. Returning to Romania, he wrote a dissertation, , which earned him a 1933 doctorate and a professorship at Bucharest, where he spent the rest of the 1930s. He also began writing fiction in which ordinary people come to terms with the sacred. During World War II he worked in several diplomatic posts
in England and Portugal. After the war, he fled the Communist regime in Romania, lived in Paris 10 years, then accepted a position with the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1956 until his death in 1986. He helped launch the field “history of religion” and authored such major works as (Princeton, 1970), (Harvest, 1968), and the fascinating multivolume .