Entry (“1942, Berlin”) from The Portugal Journal of Mircea Eliade:
Gorneanu [a member of the Legation] takes me today to Carl Schmitt, who has wanted for a long time to know the true story about Nae Ionescu’s philosophy. A house in Dahlem, with very un-Germanic furniture, several modern paintings, and a library rich in old books. Carl Schmitt is a small man with a face not very impressive but luminous, animated. He speaks fluent French. I tell him that of his books I know only Die romantische Politik
, which influenced Nae Ionescu, Ţuţea, and others very much. But instead of beginning a discussion about Nae, he asks me about Salazar, about Portugal, about maritime cultures—and we talk for three hours. He is writing a book about “land and sea,” and he has read enormously concerning aquatic art, culture, and symbolism. He says that Moby-Dick
is the greatest creation of the maritime spirit after the Odyssey
. He shows me several curious paintings by a modern German artist whose name I promptly forget: underwater, cosmological visions.
Since for many years I too have been studying such problems (Mǎtrǎguna), I let myself be drawn into interpretations of Austroasiatic symbols and myths that might interest him. I promise to send him Zalmoxis, vol. II, where I have published “Notes sur le symbolisme aquatique.” What impresses me about Schmitt is his metaphysical courage, his nonconformism, his breadth of vision. He reminds me of Nae [but with a more solid culture].
He offers us a bottle of Rhine wine. He is delighted to have met me and he regrets that I’m leaving tomorrow for Madrid. He says the most interesting man alive today is René Guénon [and he is happy that I agree]. He escorts us as far as the metro station, talking about aviation as a “terrestrial” symbol.