By E. M. Cioran

ISBN-10: 161145736X

ISBN-13: 9781611457360

“In the actual fact of being born there's such a scarcity of necessity that after you consider it a bit greater than traditional you're left . . . with a silly grin.”

E. M. Cioran confronts where of modern international within the context of human history—focusing on such significant problems with the 20 th century as human growth, fanaticism, and science—in this nihilistic and witty choice of aphoristic essays in regards to the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's have to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the traditional Greeks and the depression baseness of all lifestyles, Cioran's items are pessimistic within the severe, but additionally exhibit a stunning walk in the park that renders them gentle, brilliant, and noteworthy. Illuminating and brutally sincere, A brief historical past of Decay dissects Man's decadence in a impressive sequence of relocating and lovely items.

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Example text

Outside of the surrender to the incommunicable, the suspension amid our mute and unconsoled anxieties, life is merely a fracas on an unmapped terrain, and the universe a geometry stricken with epilepsy. (The implicit plural of “one” and the avowed plural of “we” constitute the comfortable refuge of false existence. Only the poet takes responsibility for “I,” he alone speaks in his own name, he alone is entitled to do so. Poetry is bastardized when it becomes permeable to prophecy or to doctrine: “mission” smothers music, idea shackles inspiration.

Even the original French title—Précis de decomposition—is curious. In French, one often gives the title Précis to textbook summaries—for example, a Précis de littérature française or a Précis de mathématiques. But a “precis” of decay? It seemed absurd to write such a book. And so I bought it. That used bookstore no longer exists, though I still have my copy of Cioran’s book. Originally published in 1949, A Short History of Decay was the first book Cioran wrote in French. Born in the small Romanian village of Ràsinari in 1911, Cioran attended university in Bucharest, where he discovered the works of Pascal and Nietzsche.

The initiates were doubtless obliged to keep silence; yet it is inconceivable that not a single chatterbox was among their number; what is more contrary to human nature than such stubbornness in secrecy? The fact is that there were no secrets; there were rites, there were shudders. Once the veils had fallen, what could they discover but insignificant consequences? The only initiation is to nothingness—and to the mockery of being alive, . . And I dream of an Eleusis of disabused hearts, of a lucid Mystery, without gods and without the vehemences of illusion.

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A Short History of Decay by E. M. Cioran


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