Last seminar-session was very nice, heard a good and inspired paper about Ranke (ger., eng.) and “Historismus“, a special historical method, theory. Later I attended the “Stammtisch” of the faculty and met some of my former students. One is writing the final Magister-Thesis about old people that move into an institution, a home and how they deal with that change. The special focus is on the question, what do they take with them and why? It is, as the student told me, partly emotionally challenging to do interviews in such a situation. It is tough for all involved.
In the course of the conversation she mentioned that she can observe how people start to give a kind of religious value to things, how things become holy or sacred. That rung a bell in my head and I remembered Mircea Eliade (ger.), who besides other things wrote about how things get sacred. He was editor in chief for the encyclopedia of religions and had a lot of other functions in his long life. In the western German scientific community he was never fully approved or at least always handled with care because of his far right and open fascist connections in the years up to 1945. Nowadays we should be able to look at the works and we should be able to hammer off the ideological rust, the seventy year old and the 20 year old. Said encyclopedia and his collected works are buried in the library and rot away, there are as good as no references to his work in the German European Ethnography.
Eliade was an early regular at the Eranos-meetings that take place up to this date every year at the Lago Maggiore, at the foot of the Monte Veritá. The english article being a stub
I give you a short version of the later’s history. 1900 a group of pre-hippies started to cultivate saied “mountain” – actually it is a hill – and founded a sanatorium based on all the most modern “lebensreformerischen” life-reforming principles: No meat, no alcohol, new clothing, no clothing, natural energies, you name it. The incredible Gusto Graeser belonged to that group. It was all very chaotic and in the time of WWI all anarchists, political refugees and generally all anti-establishment-types dropped by and stayed for a shorter or longer time. Hermann Hesse buried himself here in the mud to feel earth’s power and to overcome some alcohol-related difficulties.
1920 the founding generation gave in because of impending banquerott and the area went from hand to hand. 1926 the obscenely rich banquier Eduard von der Heydt bought the area and conversed it into a hotel. After his death the Kanton Tessin became the possessor, which still is. For a history of the near-by Brissago-islands look here.
1933 the netherlandish spiritualist Olga Fröbe-Kapetyn started above mentioned Eranos-meetings which partly took place on the mountain of truth and which said Mircea Eliade attended, besides C.G. Jung and a lot of other free spirits.
This area really must have something about it, it attracted Europe’s unadjusted elite throughout the 20th century.