Friday, May 29, 2009

Philosophy Noir

Having noted Sam Munson’s not all that laudatory review of Ilinca Zariopol-Johnston’s Searching for Cioran (Indiana University Press), entitled The Trouble With Being Cioran, I thought I’d Google my favorite pessimist/nihilist philosopher. I should have known that these days Cioran would have generated a cottage industry all its own (try, for instance, Anyone thinking they might be into the philosophy which noir fiction and film could, by a leap of the imagination, be said to be based upon should definitely try to sample Cioran, (particularly since he tends to blow his philosophical trumpet in short phrases). After all, Cioran can make the likes of Jim Thompson seem like a sunny optimist. At the same time, reading him can be quite exhilarating. I was trying to think when I first started reading Cioran. It must have been sometime in the early 1970s. Though I can’t recall how I first came across him. Perhaps it was the Susan Sontag essay? Or maybe there was a Rumanian connection via reading Eliade. Later, I would be impressed when staying with Ed and Jenny Dorn in Boulder during the early 1980s, I noticed a letter Ed had written to Cioran that was meant to accompany a copy of their newspaper Rolling Stock. The thought of Cioran reading RS appealed to me, though its slogan, If it moves, print it, seemed somewhat at odds with Cioran’s mood and tone. On the other hand, his oppositional view and cantankerous nature no doubt appealed to Ed. I'd like to think that Cioran, having received and read RS, ended up wearing cowboy boots and coming on like the talking horse in Gunslinger.

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