(Redirected from Emil Cioran
Emil Michel Cioran (known in French as Émile Michel Cioran), (April 8, 1911 - June 20, 1995) was a writer noted for his somber works in the French language.
He was born in Răşinari , Sibiu, Austria-Hungary (present-day Romania) the son of a Romanian Orthodox priest, and died in Paris, having variously 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. He also began an association with the Iron Guard, a fascist organization which he supported until the early years of World War II. He later renounced the organization and frequently expressed regret and repentance for his participation in it. Some critics have seen his remorse at his participation in the Iron Guard as the source of the pessimism which characterized his later work, although 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). However, Cioran's 'pessimism' is more 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 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."
- On the Heights of Despair (Pe culmile disperàrii, 1934)
- Tears and Saints (Lacrimi si Sfinti, 1937)
- A Short History of Decay (Précis de décomposition, 1949)
- The Temptation to Exist (La tentation d'exister, 1956)
- History and Utopia (Histoire et utopie, 1960)
- The Trouble With Being Born (De l'inconvénient d'être né, 1973)
- The bad demiurge (Le mauvais demiurge,1974)
- Anathemas and Admirations (Aveux et anathèmes and Exercices d'admiration, 1987)
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 stange 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."
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46