Birthday: April 8, 1911
Died At Age: 84
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Emil Mihai Cioran
Born Country: Romania
Born in: Rasinari, Romania
Famous as: Philosopher
father: Emilian Cioran
mother: Elvira Cioran
siblings: Aurel Cioran
Died on: June 20, 1995
place of death: Paris
Diseases & Disabilities: Alzheimer's
education: University of Bucharest, Humboldt University of Berlin
awards: Roger Nimier Prize
Who was Emil Cioran?
Emil Cioran was a Romanian philosopher and writer who authored many works on philosophical pessimism. His major works focused on subjects which were not easy to discuss among common people. He emphasized on critical social issues like suicide and nihilism besides writing on ethics, religion and music. There has been much research on his work and the critics have labeled his work as ‘philosophical pessimism’. He published many important books in both French and Romanian, such as ‘On the Heights of Despair’ and ‘Histoire et utopie.’ His book ‘A Short History of Decay’ was awarded the prestigious Rivarol Prize which the author refused to take. After his death, many plays were written based on Cioran’s character and works. He is lauded in the Romanian academies as one of the finest philosophers and critical writers from Romania. Cioran was honored posthumously with a membership to the Romanian Academy.
Childhood & Early Life
Emil Mihai Cioran was born on April 8, 1911, in Resinar (current day Rășinari, Romania), which was a part of the Szeben County, Austro-Hungarian Empire, at that period of time. He was born to an Orthodox Christian family. His father, Emilian Cioran, was a priest and his mother, Elvira Comaniciu, was a homemaker.
He received his early education at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School where he studied humanities. Later, he attended the University of Bucharest to study philosophy.
Cioran met some of his future best friends during his time at the university. Future playwright Eugène Ionesco and future historian Mircea Eliade became his close friends. He also met Petre Țuțea and Constantin Noica while studying under NaeIonescu whose ideas had a great influence on Cioran.
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Emil Cioran had a good grasp on the German language and was influenced by the works of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. When he was a scholar at the University of Berlin, Cioran was fascinated by the policies of the Nazi regime. Hitler’s leadership and political views drew a lot of praise from him.
He once said that Hitler was the most “admirable” and “sympathetic” politicians during his time. He called himself a “Hitlerist” in a letter he wrote to Romanian literary critic Petru Comarnescu. He also voiced his praise on Italian fascism, which, according to him, was necessary for Italy to win the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
Emil Cioran wrote many books on social issues, his first being ‘On the Heights of Despair’. The book was published in the Romanian language in 1934.
In the coming years, he published three more critical pieces of his work. The three books, ‘The Book of Delusions’, ‘The Transfiguration of Romania’, and ‘Tears and Saints’ were all published in Romania between 1935 and 1937.
Emil Cioran was known for his inclination towards right-wing politics and extreme nationalist views since his days in Germany. In Romania, he showed interest in the far-right political organization ‘Iron Guard’. Despite not agreeing with their violent methods and extremism, Cioran did show support to their nationalist views.
He was offered a scholarship by the French Institute of Bucharest in 1937 which he duly accepted. Although he was supposed to be there for a few years, Cioran actually never returned except once for a brief period. During that short period in Romania, he again lent his support to Iron Guard.
He wrote his last book, ‘The Passionate Handbook’, in Romania and published it in 1945. It took him almost five years to complete the book which was based on pessimism and cynicism.
Four years after his last book in Romanian, Cioran published his first French book, ‘A Short History of Decay’, which is considered to be his finest work. His other notable French books include ‘History and Utopia’, ‘The Trouble with Being Born’, and ‘Drawn and Quartered’.
Emil Cioran’s debut book, ‘On the Heights of Despair’, focused on the mental state of man and the complete loss of faith. The book was awarded the Young Writers Prize and the Commission’s Prize for a new young writer.
His very first book in French was ‘Précis de décomposition’, which translates to ‘A Short History of Decay’ in English. The book was published by the leading French book publisher Éditions Gallimard. Cioran was awarded the Rivarol Prize in 1950 for this masterpiece.
Family & Personal Life
Emil Cioran was in a long-term partnership with Simone Boué. She predeceased him. He lived the major part of his later life at the Latin Quarter of Paris, away from public attention. He isolated himself from almost everything apart from some of his closest friends.
He suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died on June 20, 1995, in Paris. His mortal body was rested at the Montparnasse Cemetery.