An Infamous Past

An Infamous Past

E.M. Cioran and the Rise of Fascism in Romania

Book - 2005
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A writer who does stupid things in his youth is like a woman with a shameful past, writes Marta Petreu-never forgiven, never forgotten. E. M. Cioran, the renowned Romanian-French nihilist philosopher and literary figure, knew this as well as anyone. Alongside Heidegger, Sartre, Paul de Mann, and others, Cioran was one of the important thinkers of the twentieth century to be seduced by totalitarianism: he experienced a most disturbing intellectual and moral drama.
More than any earlier study of Cioran, Marta Petreu's intensive investigation of his life and work confronts the central problem of his biography: his relationship with political extremism. The scene of Cioran's excesses is Romania and Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, a time of xenophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, Nazism, and Stalinism. In an incendiary book published in the mid-1930s, Cioran openly praised Hitler and Lenin and compared the leader of the fanatical right-wing Romanian Iron
Guard to Jesus himself. This book, The Transfiguration of Romania, is the focal element of Ms. Petreu's analysis, which she carries on to Cioran's posthumously published Notebooks, characterized by the regret and remorse of his twilight years.
In lucid prose, grounded in a wealth of documentary evidence, she traces the entire history of a painful individual and collective drama. For many of Cioran's political and social yearnings would later be realized in Ceausescu's dictatorship of Romania-to the regret of the Romanian people.
In his Foreword to An Infamous Past, the distinguished writer Norman Manea reminds us of Cioran's stature in Western intellectual circles and explains the critical importance of Marta Petreu's book. Book jacket.
Publisher: Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 2005
ISBN: 1566636078 (cloth : alk. paper)
Branch Call Number: 320.533092 PET
Characteristics: xiv, 332 p. ; 23 cm

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