A Short History of Decay

Foreword by Eugene Thacker / Translated by Richard Howard
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About The Book

Dissects Man's decadence in a remarkable series of moving and beautiful pieces. “To miss reading this book would be a deprivation.”—Los Angeles Times

E. M. Cioran confronts the place of today's world in the context of human history—focusing on such major issues of the twentieth century as human progress, fanaticism, and science—in this nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Table of Contents:

  • Foreword
  • Directions for Decomposition
  • The Second-Hand Thinker
  • Faces of Decadence
  • Sanctity and the Grimaces of the Absolute
  • The Décor of Knowledge
  • Abdications

Touching upon Man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest,

“When A Short History of Decay was published, it tended to polarize readers. Many dismissed it as overly morose and pessimistic, completely out of tune with the obligatory optimism of postwar European culture. Others praised it for precisely these reasons (in his review of the book, Maurice Nadeau proclaimed Cioran ‘the one whose arrival has been prepared by all the philosophers of the void and of the absurd, harbinger of bad news par excellence’). The original impact of Cioran’s book can still be felt in reading A Short History of Decay today.”—Eugene Thacker, from his Foreword

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (November 13, 2012)
  • Length: 200 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781611457360

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