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'Not to be born is undoubtedly the best plan of all. Unfortunately it is within no one's reach.' In The Trouble With Being Born, E. M. Cioran grapples with the major questions of human existence: birth, death, God, the passing of time, how to relate to others and how to make ourselves get out of bed in the morning. In a series of interlinking aphorisms which are at once pessimistic, poetic and extremely funny, Cioran finds a kind of joy in his own despair, revelling in the absurdity and futility of our existence, and our inability to live in the world. Translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic Richard Howard, The Trouble With Being Born is a provocative, illuminating testament to a singular mind.
A Short History of Decay (1949) is E. M. Cioran's nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid 20th-century Europe. 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, A Short History of Decay dissects man's decadence in a remarkable series of moving and beautiful pieces.