Emil Cioran

Caricature of Emil Cioran


Emil Mihai Cioran April 8, 1911 Rășinari, Romania


June 20, 1995 (aged 84) Paris, France


20th-century philosophy


Western philosophy


Philosophical Pessimism,Existentialism

Main interests

Suicide, nihilism, ethics,Literature

Early life[edit]

Cioran later rejected Bergson. and especially Friedrich Nietzsche. had become a fervent advocate of a tendency deemed Trăirism. Cioran. aged 17. and Țuțea became supporters of the ideas that their philosophy professor. Elvira Cioran (born Comaniciu). and. while expressing his approval for the Night of the Long Knives — "what has humanity lost if the lives of a few imbeciles were [2] [3] taken"). . Sibiu County. he became interested in measures taken by the Nazi regime. Cioran. which fused Existentialism with ideas common in various forms of Fascism. contributed a column to Vremea dealing with the topic (in which Cioran confessed that "there is no [1] present-day politician that I see as more sympathetic and admirable than Hitler". taking as an axiom "the inconvenience of existence". arguing that: [4] "Fascism is a shock. Career[edit] Berlin and Romania[edit] In 1933. While in Berlin. He held similar views about Italian fascism. was an orthodox priest. a commune near Făgăraș. He became an agnostic. During his studies at the University he was also influenced by the works of Georg Simmel. in a letter written to Petru Comarnescu. which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. Emilian Cioran. Nae Ionescu. welcoming victories in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. became his closest colleagues for they all had Tudor Vianu and Nae Ionescu as their professors. without which Italy is a compromise comparable to today's Romania". Future Romanian philosopher Constantin Noica and future Romanian thinker Petre Țuțea. Ludwig Klages and Martin Heidegger. who added the belief that life is arbitrary to Cioran’s central system of thought. was originally from Veneția de Jos. His father. Cioran's house in Rășinari After studying humanities at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School in Sibiu (Hermannstadt). Cioran had a good command of German. the three of them becoming lifelong friends. His first studies revolved around Immanuel Kant. started to study philosophy at the University of Bucharest.Cioran was born in Rășinari. Arthur Schopenhauer. he met Eugène Ionesco and Mircea Eliade. Eliade. he obtained a scholarship to the University of Berlin. while his mother. but also by the Russian philosopher Lev Shestov. claiming the latter did not comprehend the tragedy of life). He then graduated with a thesis on Henri Bergson (however. described himself as "a Hitlerist". where he came into contact with Klages and Nicolai Hartmann. Upon his entrance into the University.

Nichifor Crainic.. Successively. massacre of today's Romania. he wrote: "I find that in Romania the sole fertile. without even [the fear] of matricide and sacrilege"). which led to criticism from the far right Gândirea (its editor. [11] merciless..a far right organization whose nationalist ideology he supported until the early years ofWorld War II.. but also denies and defeats it".] Everyday Romanian [truisms] are dumbfounding. eliminating numerous passages he considered extremist or "pretentious and stupid".. as well as [12] from various Iron Guard papers. published in English in 2005. and invigorating nationalism [9] can only be one which does not just dismiss tradition. a view which was also present in various articles [6] Cioran wrote at the time. [5] the book expressed sympathy fortotalitarianism.").M. our people expresses the same shyness in front of life. [. Cioran revised The Transfiguration of Romania heavily in its second edition released in the 1990s. in any reflection. It was awarded the Commission’s Prize and the Young Writers Prize for one of the best books written by an unpublished young writer. The Book of Delusions (1935). hard to reconcile with the traditionalism of the Iron [8] Guard. Disapproval of what he viewed as specifically Romanian traits had been present in his works ("In any maxim. it was during this time in Romania that he began taking an interest in the ideas put forth by the Iron Guard . however. His early call for modernization was. and Tears and Saints (1937). gives an in-depth analysis of The Transfiguration. France[edit] 21 rue de l'Odéon (red point) . the same hesitation and [10] resignation. had called The Transfiguration of Romania "a bloody. and which aimed to establish "urbanization and industrialization" as "the two [7] obsessions of a rising people". were also published in Romania (the first two titles have yet to be translated into English). Although Cioran was never a member of the group. The Transfiguration of Romania (1936). Marta Petreu's An Infamous Past: E. In 1934. creative. despite allegedly disapproving of their violent methods. in any proverb. In its original form.Cioran’s first book. On the Heights of Despair (more accurately translated: "On the Summits of Despair"). was published in Romania in 1934. Cioran and the Rise of Fascism in Romania.

In 1937. one centered on the portrait of Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. and finished it by 1945. more than this. From this point on Cioran only published books in French (all were appreciated not only because of their content. he condemned it as "a complex of movements.. by then. former leader of the movement. [.. taken power ( see National Legionary State) — on 28 November. After a short stay in his home country (November 1940-February 1941). "having given Romanians a purpose"). although not the last to deal with pessimism and misanthropy through delicate and lyrical aphorisms. but also their nationalist ideas. which was then prolonged until 1944. a demented sect and a party". This last period in Romania was the one in which he exhibited a closer relationship with the Iron Guard. . and frequently expressed regret and repentance for his emotional implication in it.] I [14] am now immune to it".] what it means to be carried by the wave without the faintest trace of conviction. It was to be the last book that he would write in Romanian. Cioran never returned again. he started writing The Passionate Handbook. in a 1972 interview.. among other things.from Coasta Boacii to the Rue de l'Odéon After coming back from Berlin (1936). but also because of their style which was full oflyricism and fine use of the language). and avowed: "I found out then [. which had. Cioran taught philosophy at the " Andrei Șaguna" high school in Brașov for a year. In 1940. For example.. he left for Paris with a scholarship from the French Institute of Bucharest. he recorded a speech for the state-owned Romanian Radio. who had been killed two years [13] before (praising him and the Guard for. He later renounced not only his support for the Iron Guard.

which contains a section of aphorisms devoted to the subject. Paul Celan. presented by Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. He revisits suicide in depth in The New Gods. by young Cioran: "Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?" in On the Heights of Despair. the expression of intense and even violent feeling. Preoccupied with the problems of death and suffering. often. is thus formulated. he still maintained numerous friends with whom he conversed often such asMircea Eliade. Samuel Beckett. However. was published by Gallimard and was awarded the Rivarol Prize in 1950. and came to be dominated by lyricism and. the most prominent existentialist theme. a state that Cioran himself experienced. The Latin Quarter of Paris became Cioran’s permanent residence. When Cioran's mother spoke to him of abortion. The books he wrote in Romanian especially display this latter characteristic. he later said. an idea which he fully explored in On the Heights of Despair. in its own particular manner. avoiding the public. but made an extraordinary impression which led to an insight about the nature of existence ("I'm simply an accident. Major themes and style[edit] Professing a lack of interest in conventional philosophy in his early youth. which many critics trace back to events of 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). Later on. I’ve simply been [citation needed] the secretary of my sensations". Yet. His works often depict an atmosphere of torment.The tomb of Cioran and Simone Boué In 1949 his first French book. and Henri Michaux. single origins themselves being questionable. Why take it all so seriously?" is [this quote needs a citation] what he later said in reference to the incident) . He lived most of his life in isolation. it is not the sort of pessimism which can be traced back to simple origins. Pessimism characterizes all of his works. . in 1932. A Short History of Decay. Cioran dismissed abstract speculation in favor of personal reflection and passionate lyricism. he confessed that it did not disturb him. he was attracted to the idea of suicide. He is buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery. Cioran refused every literary prize with which he was presented. The theme of human alienation. "I’ve invented nothing. joyful. Cioran's pessimism (in fact. his skepticism. believing it to be an idea that could help one go on living. Eugène Ionesco. even nihilism) remains both inexhaustible and.

Bucharest 1934 Cartea amăgirilor ("The Book of Delusions”). the end of civilization. excess of self-analysis and transparency. widely reading the writers that were associated with the period of "decadent". However. depicting an imaginary [17] meeting between Vișniec and Emil Cioran. a language with which he had struggled since his youth. Simone Boué. Legacy[edit] After the death of Cioran's long-term companion. Saint-John Perse called him “the greatest French [16] writer to honor our language since the death of Paul Valéry. the tragic sense of history. etc. the vulgarities of change. During Cioran's lifetime. a collection of Cioran's manuscripts (over 30 notebooks) were found in the couple's apartment by a manager who tried. the tyranny of history. Bucharest 1936 Schimbarea la față a României ("The Transfiguration of Romania”). William H.” Cioran's tone and usage in his adopted language were seldom as harsh as in Romanian (though his use of Romanian is said to be more [citation needed] original). Regarding God. to auction them. An aged Cioran is the main character in a play by Romanian dramatist-actor Matei Vișniec. reason as disease". Amid the manuscripts. under the direction of Radu Afrim and with a cast of Romanian and Luxembourgian actors. The play.Cioran’s works encompass many other themes as well: original sin. he is on his way to his own destruction through selfobjectification. absurdity. Cioran has noted that "without Bach. He was a thinker passionate about history. the obsession with the absolute. which were mainly drafts of works that had already been published. at Esch[17] sur-Alzette (both Sibiu and Luxembourg City were the year's European Capital of Culture). Cioran became most famous while writing not in Romanian but French. This document is probably Cioran’s last unpublished work. translated "On the Heights of Despair"). Major works[edit] Romanian[edit]    Pe culmile disperării (literally On the Summits of Despair. boredom. the refusal of consolation through faith. impeccable production and reproduction. Bucharest 1936 . the trial is still taking place in France. God would be a complete second rate figure" and that "Bach's music is the only argument proving the creation of the Universe cannot be regarded as a [15] complete failure". Editura "Fundația pentru Literatură și Artă". Mansardă la Paris cu vedere spre moarte ("A Paris Loft with a View on Death"). Today. According to Cioran. Stagings were organized in the Romanian city of Sibiu and in the Luxembourg. a decision made by the Court of Appeal of Paris stopped the commercial sale of the collection. awareness as agony. Gass called Cioran's work "a philosophical romance on the modern themes of alienation. futility. decay. One of these writers was Oswald Spengler who influenced Cioran's political philosophy in that he offered Gnostic reflections on the destiny of man and civilization. he has resisted decadence. and artificial triumph. was first brought to the stage in 2007. in 2005. Cioran was played by Constantin [18] [17][18] Cojocaru. life as an expression of man's metaphysical exile. an unedited journal was found which encompassed his life after 1972 (the year in which his Notebooks end). as long as man has kept in touch with his origins and hasn't cut himself off from himself.

L'Herne. Gallimard 1964 Le mauvais démiurge (literally The Evil Demiurge.50-52. Gallimard-Quatro 1995 Mon pays/Țara mea ("My country”.40 Jump up^ Ornea. 1933. Humanitas. p. in Ornea. Bucharest 1991 French[edit]                     Précis de décomposition ("A Short History of Decay"). "All Gall Is Divided"). Jadis et naguère. 2. the book was first published in Romania in a bilingual volume). and Aveux et anathèmes 1987 (tr. Jump up^ Cioran. 6. See also[edit]    Diogenes of Sinope Misotheism Misanthropy Notes[edit] 1. Gallimard 1960 La chute dans le temps ("The Fall into Time"). Gallimard 1997 Des larmes et des saints .  Lacrimi și Sfinți ("Tears and Saints"). 2009 (Several unpublished documents. p. p. 2009 Transfiguration de la Roumanie. 5. "Editura autorului" 1937 Îndreptar pătimaș ("The Passionate Handbook”). Gallimard 1973 Écartèlement (tr. Bucharest. L'Herne | English edition: ISBN 978-0-226-10672-4 Sur les cimes du désespoir. "Drawn and Quartered").192 Jump up^ Cioran. Gallimard 1969 De l'inconvénient d'être né ("The Trouble With Being Born"). 1933. Humanitas. 1934. p. tr.190 Jump up^ Cioran. and grouped as "Anathemas and Admirations") Œuvres (Collected works). 3. L'Herne. Gallimard 1949 Syllogismes de l'amertume (tr. letters and photographies). | English edition: ISBN 978-0-226-10670-0 Le crépuscule des pensées . p. Gallimard 1952 La tentation d'exister ("The Temptation to Exist"). L’Herne. 1970. 1936. in Ornea. written in French. 1996 Cahiers ("Notebooks"). L’Herne. 2009 Cahier Cioran. "The New Gods"). in Ornea. L’Herne. 98 . in Ornea. L'Herne. 2006 De la France.191 Jump up^ Cioran. L'Herne Valéry face à ses idoles. Gallimard 1956 | English edition: ISBN 978-0-22610675-5 Histoire et utopie ("History and Utopia"). 4.192 Jump up^ Ornea. Gallimard 1979 Exercices d'admiration 1986. p.

p. Morar.141 11. in Newsweek 16.143 12. 1934. 9. p. in Ornea. 130. Ioan T. 1937. in Ornea.198 15. p. 137-141 Jump up^ Cioran.197 14. Jump up^ Ornea. in Ornea. p.ro.127 10. retrieved November 15. 1972. Jump up^ Cioran. p. at HotNews. 1936. Jump up^ Cioran.98 Jump up^ Ornea. Jump up^ Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston. 1989. p.143-144 13. in Ornea. p.6 17. 45/2007. in Ornea. in Ornea. p. A făcut Emil Cioran karate?". 8.7. ^ Jump up to: a b a b c (Romanian) "Teatru românesc în Luxemburg". Jump up^ Cioran. in Academia Cațavencu. "Cronică de lângă teatre. Jump up^ Crainic. Jump up^ Cioran. p.127. Jump up^ Cioran. ^ Jump up to: 2007 18. December 4. 1940. Searching for Cioran (Indiana University Press). p.30 .

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