Emile Cioran

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Emil Cioran (known in French as Émil Michel Cioran), (April 8, 1911 - June 20, 1995) Romanian writer and philosopher.

He was born in Răşinari, Sibiu, Romania the son of a Romanian Orthodox priest, and died in Paris, having lived in Bucharest, Berlin, and elsewhere.

He attended Bucharest University, where he in 1928 met Eugène Ionesco and Mircea Eliade, and the three became lifelong friends. At the same time, he developed a long lasting friendship with the Romanian thinker Petre Ţuţea. He also began to take an interest, without any membership though, in the ideas put forth by the Iron Guard - an organization whose nationalist side of their (otherwise more complex) ideology he supported until the early years of World War II, even though he allegedly disaproved their violent methods. He later renounced not only his "Platonic love" for this organization (of which he was never a member), but also the nationalist ideas and frequently expressed regret and repentance for his emotional implication in it. Some critics have seen his remorse at his ideological participation in the interwar nationalist movement in Romania as the source of the pessimism which characterized his later work (soft and easy critic), and others trace it back to events in his childhood (in 1935 his mother is reputed to have told him that if she had known he was going to be so unhappy she would have aborted him - pop-psychology causality). However, Cioran's 'pessimism' (in fact, his skepticism, even nihilism) is more than that of one who looks deeply into the abyss, yet is able to continue existing with the tragic wisdom he has discovered and remain, in his own particular manner, joyful; it is not a pessimism which can be traced to such simple origins, single origins themselves being questionable. When Cioran's mother spoke to him of abortion, it did not disturb him, but made an extraordinary impression which led to an insight about the nature of existence. "I'm simply an accident. Why take it all so seriously?" is what he later said in reference to the incident, noting that everything is without substance. Existence is chance.

A 1937 scholarship from the French Institute in Bucharest brought him to Paris, where he lived the rest of his life—though he famously said "I have no nationality—the best possible status for an intellectual." His early work was in Romanian, his latter work in French, and it was mostly in the form of aphorisms and short essays. Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Oswald Spengler and buddhism influenced him greatly.

William H. Gass called Cioran's work "a philosophical romance on modern themes of alienation, absurdity, boredom, futility, decay, the tyranny of history, the vulgarities of change, awareness as a agony, reason as disease."

Major works

  • On the Heights of Despair (Pe culmile disperării, Editura "Fundatia pentru Literatura si Arta", Bucuresti 1934)
  • Tears and Saints (Lacrimi şi Sfinţi, "Editura autorului" 1937)
  • A Short History of Decay (Précis de décomposition, Gallimard 1949)
  • All Gall Is Divided (Syllogismes de l'amertume, Gallimard 1952)
  • The Temptation to Exist (La tentation d'exister, Gallimard 1956)
  • History and Utopia (Histoire et utopie, Gallimard 1960)
  • The Fall into Time (La chute dans le temps, Gallimard 1964)
  • The New Gods (Le mauvais démiurge, Gallimard 1969)
  • The Trouble With Being Born (De l'inconvénient d'être né, Gallimard 1973)
  • Drawn And Quartered (Écartelèment, Gallimard, 1979)
  • Anathemas and Admirations (Exercices d'admiration 1986 and Aveux et anathèmes 1987)
  • Notebooks (Cahiers 1957-1972, Gallimard 1997) - Notebooks: now announced for september 1, 2005

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Aphorisms from Hung, Drawn, and Quartered (1983)

  • "What to think of other people? I ask myself this question each time I make a new acquaintance. So strange does it seem to me that we exist, and that we consent to exist."
  • "Existing is plagiarism."
  • "'Everytime I think of Christ's crucifixion, I commit the sin of envy.'--I love Simone Weil when she vies with the greatest saints for pride."
  • "In this dream, I was flattering someone I despise. Waking, a greater self-loathing than if I had really committed such vileness . . ."
  • "True moral elegance consists in the art of disguising one's victories as defeats."
  • "We must censure the later Nietzsche for a panting excess in the writing, the absence of rests."
  • "What a pity that 'nothingness' has been devalued by an abuse of it made by philosophers unworthy of it!"
  • "A self-respecting man is a man without a country. A fatherland is birdlime . . ."
  • "Illusion begets and sustains the world; we do not destroy one without destroying the other. Which is what I do every day. An apparently ineffectual operation, since I must begin all over again the next day."

de:Émile Michel Cioran es:Émile Michel Cioran eo:Emile CIORAN fr:Émil Michel Cioran io:Emil Cioran it:Emil Cioran ja:エミール・シオラン pl:Emil Cioran pt:Emile Cioran ro:Emil Cioran sk:Emile M. Cioran

External links

  • Planet Cioran - All about Cioran. Extensive multilingual linkspage.