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He is an essayist in the best French tradition, and even though French was not his native tongue, many think him among the finest writers in that language. His writing style is whimsical, unsystematic, fragmentary; he is celebrated as one of the great masters of aphorism. With him, self-contradiction is not even a weakness, but the sign a mind is alive.


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For writing, he believed, is not about being consistent, nor about persuasion or keeping a readership entertained; writing is not even about literature. For Cioran, just like Montaigne several centuries earlier, writing has a distinctive performative function: you write not to produce some body of text, but to act upon yourself; to bring yourself together after a personal disaster or to pull yourself out of a bad depression; to come to terms with a deadly disease or to mourn the loss of a close friend.

You write not to go mad, not to kill yourself or others. Human existence, at its core, is endless anguish and despair, and writing can make things a bit more bearable. Cioran wrote himself out of death over and over again. The book — to remain one of his finest in both Romanian and French — marked the beginning of a strong, intimate link in his life between writing and sleeplessness:.

For seven years I could barely sleep. I need this depression, and even today before I sit down to write I play a disk of [sad] Gypsy music from Hungary. Among them failure figures prominently. Cioran was obsessed with it: the specter of failure haunts his oeuvre starting with his earliest, Romanian book; then, throughout his life, he never strayed away from failure. He studied it from varying angles and at different moments, as true connoisseurs tend to, and looked for it in the most unexpected places.

E. M. Cioran

Not only can individuals end up as failures, Cioran believed, but also societies, peoples, and countries. Especially countries. The greatest country in the world reduced to such a state of decay! Failure permeates everything.

Great ideas can be stained by failure, and so can books, philosophies, institutions, and political systems. God and the Failure.

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Cioran could speak so well of failure because he knew it intimately. Cioran was someone who in his youth got involved in catastrophic political projects which he regretted all his life , who changed countries and languages and had to start everything from scratch, who was a perpetual exile and lived a marginal life, who was almost never employed and nearly always on the verge of poverty. He must have developed a profound familiarity with failure — even a flair for it. He knew how to appreciate a worthwhile case of failure, how to observe its unfolding and savor its complexity. Seller Inventory M More information about this seller Contact this seller 6.

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More information about this seller Contact this seller 9. Published by Quadrangle, Chicago, Illinois About this Item: Quadrangle, Chicago, Illinois, Soft cover. Condition: 3.

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Seller Inventory ING Seller Inventory BD Condition: fine. Published by Quadrangle About this Item: Quadrangle, Hard Cover. First Edition. First printing. Spine of dj darkened and couple of very tiny tears at spine ends previous owners name on front end paper. Condition: Like New.

The Temptation to Exist

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The Temptation to Exist

Seaver Books was distributed by Holt. Seller Inventory SKU Published by University Of Chicago Press. Markings found in book. Seller Inventory VIB Published by University of Chicago Press From: Half Price Books Inc. Dallas, TX, U. About this Item: University of Chicago Press, Connecting readers with great books since Customer service is our top priority!.