A Short History of Decay



E. M. Cioran Viking Press, 1975.  First edition. Slight to to jacket just above title. Retrospective collection of philosophical essays. E. M. Cioran’s inaugural masterpiece in French. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only.  Presents E. M. Cioran’s “Precis de decomposition” in its definitive English translation by Richard Howard, the great American poet, who is widely regarded as chiefly responsible for successfully translating Cioran’s voice, not just his words, into English.  The author’s fourth work to be translated into English, it was his “breakthrough” book in the French original. When it was first published (in 1949), it prompted comparison with Wittgenstein as the solitary philosopher par excellence (Wittgenstein, while writing in the Analytic tradition, has strong affinities with Cioran stylistically and temperamentally), placed him firmly in the Continental tradition of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.