All Gall is Divided: Gnomes and Apothegms

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Arcade Publishing, 1999 - Philosophy - 151 pages
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Romanian-born E.M. Cioran moved to Paris at the age of 26, remaining there nearly six decades until his death in 1995. He was called "a sort of final philosopher of the Western world" and "the last worthy disciple of Nietzsche"; the bleak aphorisms of All Gall Is Divided make a strong case for either appellation. "With every idea born in us," he declares early on, "something in us rots." Throughout the book, he addresses the futile attempts of man to impose meaning on a meaningless existence--"That there should be a reality hidden by appearances is, after all, quite possible; that language might render such a thing would be an absurd hope"--and nurses an ongoing fascination with the possibilities death holds for release from life's madness. (When the Dead Kennedys sang, "I look forward to death / This world brings me down," they might as well have been taking notes from Cioran.) Grim stuff, but presented in brilliant, crystalline form--particularly in the translation by Richard Howard, which retains Cioran's cold, detached viewpoint.
 

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Contents

Atrophy of Utterance
1
The Swindler of the Abyss
21
Time and Anemia
41
Occident
55
The Circus of Solitude
69
Religion
91
Loves Vitality
105
On Music
115
Vertigo of History
121
Where the Void Begins
135
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About the author (1999)

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects. He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

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