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The Temptation to Exist Paperback – July 20, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (July 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226106756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226106755
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

E. M. Cioran (1911-1995) was born and educated in Romania and lived in Paris from 1937 until his death. He is the author of numerous works, including On the Heights of Despair, also available from the University of Chicago Press.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
in this book of short essays, cioran uses irony and paradox to achieve an absolute black humor. life is described as mind looking at itself and finding no significant content. death, the final exit, is a betrayer in that contemplating it leads one to wish to affirm life once more, yet without knowledge of what in life can be affirmed. many key words in the book begin with "a": abulia, aporia, askesis, ataraxia, and acedia define cioran's mood. perhaps the most brilliant essay, "beyond the novel," informs us that the novel is either dead or dying, in any case in agony, since both "character" and "meaning" no longer signify anything. here art mirrors life, where certitudes are merely functioning lies and the only goal is a futility achieved by severing oneself from those lies. the curious thing is that humor shines through all this, and while i don't find this book as funny as others of cioran's, particulary his books of very short aphorisms, there were still some laughs: "...at any price we must keep those who have too clear a conscience from living and dying in peace," for example.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair) on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
a stunning exposition of the wondrous caverns of the human heart, soul and mind. Somehow, through unearthing the darkest regions of consciousness, this author managed to enrich and edify us. By tearing down constructs, and destroying myths, he freed us to experience the full range of awareness; and thereby attain higher degrees of joy.

This one serves as a great accompaniment to such mind bending works as: The Supreme Identity, by Alan Watts; Rebels and Devils, edited by Christopher S. Hyatt Ph.D.; and anything by Nietzsche.
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22 of 32 people found the following review helpful By listost on May 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you don't know who Cioran is... the only thing I could do is try to seduce you to be introduced to him through this book.. through Temptation. If you know who he is and are wondering which book of his to buy.. go no further! If you have read that awful, premature tome, "Heights of Despair".. toss it, forget it, and replace it with Temptation to Exist! If you have the slightest disciple of Zarathustra somewhere inside you, then I believe we understand each other.
This book is a powerhouse of essays. The only thing I can disagree with are Cioran's opinions, and even then I am merely naive. I have little right to criticize him otherwise: to give these ... singular essays, these pages fertile with cerebral energy, this relentless gnawing at obstructing myth... to give it a spit in the face with my insignificant Amazon.com review? Well it would be unfathomable insolence! If, on the other hand, I seem hopelessly reverent toward Cioran... well, ya got me.
This book isn't for casual reading while on the can or in the dentist's office waiting to get drilled. The Cartesian reference, cogito ergo sum, is here pressed in a book and displayed in bad taste with the "seductions of thinking"... but that's just a crumb of what you'll find.
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