“The Problem of Pessimism” (Frederick C. Beiser)

1. Pessimism as Zeitgeist Beginning in the 1860s, and lasting until the end of the 19th century, the dark cloud of pessimism hung thick over Germany. This bleak and black mood spread far and wide. It was not confined to decadent aristocratic circles; it could also be found in the middle classes, among students at…

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“Encounters with the void” (E.M. Cioran)

The Hudson Review, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring, 1970), pp. 37-48 Transl. by Frederick Brown THE MORE WE PONDER Buddha’s last exhortation: “Death is inherent in all compound things. Work relentlessly for your salvation”-the more we are disturbed by the impossibility of feeling ourselves an aggregate, a transitory, if not fortuitous combination of elements. We…

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“The new gods” (E. M. Cioran)

The Hudson Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, 20th Anniversary Issue (Spring, 1968), pp. 39-52. Translated by Frederick Brown. * Whoever finds it interesting to consider the unfolding pageant of irreducible ideas and beliefs would do well to fix his attention on the first centuries of the Christian era. There he will find the very model…

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“The evil demiurge” (E. M. Cioran)

The Hudson Review, vol. 20, no. 2 (Summer, 1967), pp. 189-200. Translated by Frederick Brown from CIORAN, E. M., “Le mauvais démiurge”, Le mauvais démiurge. Paris: Gallimard: 1969. Man, apart from a few anomalies, does not have a bent for the good; what god would prompt him to it? To perform the tiniest act untainted…

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