Eugene's Reviews > The Temptation to Exist

The Temptation to Exist by Emil Cioran
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Aug 15, 08

bookshelves: didntfinish
Read in August, 2008

i kept thinking, while reading cioran, of what sheeper said about edward dahlberg: "Read [him] but pay no attention to anything he says. He is so critical and cantankerous, so grum, small, and jealous, that if you took him at all seriously he would drive you as batty as he is. The quotations he burdens his work with are never to the point, and, as he is incapable of placing two sentences in logical order, such a thing as a quiet, scholarly paragraph let alone essay or chapter is outside his reach. But he is the poet of sentence design, and the quirk that shocks you with delight in the half-dozen books he has left behind is not an accident ...but itself is the hand-tended blossom... [H]e is a great pure writer in the sense that he will sacrifice any meaning however important he may have made it out to be for any flourish or conceit, and he would sell his soul to the devil and mine too for the power to write one unalterably beautiful sentence" (Sheeper p. 123)

but guess i'm just not a western philosophy reader... while i enjoy the cioran aphorism when i come across it there's something that seems untruthful when i read a whole essay (unlike a dahlberg fiction, despite his lies).

i'll admit part of the rub for me was that first essay, which has as its point the justification or rationalization of "western man's" inability to accept the "eastern truth" of taoism and the buddha. there's something car-crash attractive about watching a subtle mind try to speak to that vast and porous and often ineffable difference of the so-called east and the so-called west--but it gets quickly boring to me because invariably the writer draws your attention to the finger-pointer and not the proverbial moon. see jung and roland barthes and pound for some entertaining and not ungreat examples.

anyway, it's probably me not you emil. will try you again sometime down the line...

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message 1: by AC (new) - rated it 2 stars

AC "... while i enjoy the cioran aphorism when i come across it there's something that seems untruthful when i read a whole essay..."


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