Qty:1
  • List Price: $22.00
  • Save: $3.00 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
On the Heights of Despair has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by more-than-words
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A bright, square, and overall a nice copy All orders guaranteed and ship within 24 hours. Your purchase supports More Than Words, a nonprofit job training program for youth, empowering youth to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $4.95
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

On the Heights of Despair Paperback – October 1, 1996

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226106717 ISBN-10: 0226106713 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $19.00
30 New from $13.35 27 Used from $11.99
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$19.00
$13.35 $11.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$19.00 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

On the Heights of Despair + The Trouble with Being Born + A Short History of Decay
Price for all three: $43.91

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine walking across a tightrope suspended high in the summer air above a bay flooded in the mauve glow of sunset, the music of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" surrounding you. Now imagine the tightrope is actually razor-wire, and gusts of wind challenge every tortuous step into sublime infinity. This is the paradox of emotions one feels when reading On the Heights of Despair, the paradigmatic cry of the tortured artist whose explosive intensity of passion is equaled only by the profundity of his despair. In this hauntingly lyrical meditation on darkness, stemming from a sustained insomniac hyper-lucidity, E. M. Cioran cries out a devastating nihilism that is in the end betrayed by his own intransigent lust for being. Compels reading and rereading.

From Publishers Weekly

The dark, existential despair of Romanian philosopher Cioran's short meditations is paradoxically bracing and life-affirming. Written in 1934, when he was 22 and desperately insomniac, this feverishly lyrical, at times slyly humorous confessional outpouring reveals Cioran as an angry young man in morally decaying Europe--a far cry from the elegant, curt stylist of his later books. Here Cioran rails at life's irrationality and absurdities; embraces solitude, melancholy and the awareness of death; and breathes organic vitality into the great philosophical themes of truth, eternity, beauty, suffering and good and evil. After one separates mature wheat from adolescent chaff, Cioran's early philosophical prose, like his later works, puts him in the company of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. In the enriching introduction, Zarifopol-Johnston, who met the thinker in his modest Paris flat, described this book as "a substitute for suicide and . . . its cure."
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226106713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226106717
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on December 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
You know the kinds of people who have the posters with the fluffy little kitten hanging from the rope with the caption "Hang in there!" on it tacked to their cubicle corkboard? Those kind of people probably wouldn't appreciate this book. Now if the poster showed the little skeleton of the same kitty all covered with red ants with the slogan "You can let go now!" on it...now that's the sort who'd understand the appeal of someone like EM Cioran.

You need to have spent some time up there on the "heights of despair" yourself to have achieved a certain panoramic view of life. Most people go no further up than the "foothills of perturbation" or the "plateau of really ticked off." Who can blame them? No one likes to suffer, not even a masochist, whose safe word delineates the border where he stops taking pleasure in his "pain."

Okay, let me put it like this. I'm pretty happy where I'm at in life right now. No major complaints. Health good. Full head of hair. I enjoy a good pumpkin muffin, a crisp clear morning, and a new box of colored pencils as much as any man, woman, or child. But when my birthday comes around, I'd no more think of celebrating it with balloons and hats and noisemakers, with cake and candles and making of wishes than I would think of celebrating the Holocaust. (Sorry, mom.)

Being born is a disaster, an atrocity that lasts, on average, about 75 years. We aren't born into the world, but onto the heights of despair--with nowhere to go but down.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Duane M. Johnson on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is Emile Cioran's first book, written in his native Romanian language and published when he was but 23 years old. Much of what he would later express so masterfully in his adopted French language is on display here, not in embryonic form, but in the most incendiary and extreme form of nihilistic regard for human existence in this world. This is the kind of book that one would have expected Nietzsche to have written if he had really been a nihilist, but Nietzsche was only ever content to talk about the abyss, whereas Cioran in his first book is already reporting to us from the abyss.

The literary technique that he employs is a darkly expressive one, dependent upon what I found to be an absolutely explosive vocabulary, and by means of them he describes one extreme state of mind after another and careens through wildly speculative ruminations on life, creativity, and human fate. His outlook is so searingly negative at times that a kind of reverse light appears to emanate from it, and one has the impression that he only writes with the wish to destroy what is of value in order that he might thereby find what is of some lesser and thus higher value...and only for the short span of our mortal admiration.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Y. miranda on November 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This exhilarating and euforic book is one of the masterpieces written by Emil Cioran. "On the heights of despair" is for us postmoderns what St. Augustine's Confessions must have signified for the medieval reader. This work is truly an account of the fragmented and disordered European consciouss of between wars: not an abstract one, but a particular and individual conscious that faces the glory of absurdity. Although many people have reviewed this book as Nietzschean, I would say it is rather Schopenhauerian, since its pessimism hadrly leaves any room for Zarathustra's dancing and joyful way of being. Anyways, I think anyone intrested in thinkers such as Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Stiner, Nietzsche, should read this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Halifax Student Account on March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
On coming upon a heavily pregnant woman in a church, the philosopher of nihilism, Emil Cioran, couldn't tell the difference between the sarcophaci in the alter and the tomb in the womans belly. Sickened by the sight of the stomach tomb, Cioran ran out of the church, into the fresh air. He saw our predicament clearly that day.

Some people can see further. If you fly over your hometown, on Google Earth, you notice the higher vantage point straight away. You would never have guessed that there where so many trees surrounding your hometown if you stayed on Earth. Zoom out a little and the view becomes higher. Now you see mountains and seas. You apprehend more because you are high. When you come back down, try explaining what you have seen to your friends. Chances are, if your friends have never risen to those heights themselves, they won't believe you. You will then get thrown into the cooking pot!

We are all capable of seeing with eyes of an Emil Cioran, but modern life mitigates against the higher viewpoint and so we have to read the writing of the seers. Not anymore! Let us all write are feelings down for our kids.

We meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noon as in the night. In other worlds, we don't really dare be who we really are. We lie to our friends and to ourselves and so we are brought low by a work cycle, and humiliated and abused by the ticking clock. We are regimented and forced to get out of bed and crawl in traffic, 5 days a week with only 2 days off. Why can't it be 2 days work and 5 days off, my 4 year old argues? Who designed this stupid thing anyway?

Do I confess that adult life rips out the wonder, then, eats out our brains with entertainment!
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
On the Heights of Despair
This item: On the Heights of Despair
Price: $19.00
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?