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Save us from saviours

Thomas Pavel: E.M. Cioran, 27 May 2010

Searching for Cioran 
by Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston.
Indiana, 284 pp., £18.99, March 2009, 978 0 253 35267 5
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A Short History of Decay 
by E.M. Cioran, translated by Richard Howard.
Penguin, 186 pp., £9.99, May 2010, 978 0 14 119272 7
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... violence and follow the call of its fierce heart. Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston’s Searching for Cioran, which discusses the intellectual development of the Romanian-born French essayist, makes clear that in the days before and after the First World War, such Nietzschean calls were eagerly listened to. In the 1930s celebrations of the will to power were ...

Onion-Pilfering

Brian Dillon: Michael Ondaatje, 13 December 2007

Divisadero 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Bloomsbury, 273 pp., £17.99, September 2007, 978 0 7475 8924 2
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... fast, though none of them suggests that, in terms of style or content, Ondaatje would have E.M. Cioran, say, troubled in the aphorism stakes. ‘Succinct histories tell us something – that anything peaceful has a troubled past.’ ‘Sometimes we enter art to hide within it.’ ‘If you do not plunder the past, the absence feeds on you.’ And ...

Towards the Transhuman

James Atlas, 2 February 1984

The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... with the ease of a novel. Again, the range is imposing – Raymond Queneau, Roland Barthes, E.M. Cioran, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Bruno Bettelheim, Peter Gay’s Art and Act, The New Oxford Book of Christian Verse – the casual erudition much in evidence. Updike is a master at summing up careers: from the letters of Kafka, Joyce, Flaubert and Hemingway he ...

In Some Sense True

Tim Parks: Coetzee, 21 January 2016

The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy 
by J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz.
Harvill Secker, 198 pp., £16.99, May 2015, 978 1 84655 888 7
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J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time 
by David Attwell.
Oxford, 272 pp., £19.99, September 2015, 978 0 19 874633 1
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... draw us into an exciting vortex of instability where we are ‘riven with self-doubt’. As E.M. Cioran remarked, ‘Cruelty is a sign of election, at least, in literature.’ In this regard, though the psychoanalyst and the novelist, or at least a novelist like Coetzee, may both be working in the territory of narrative and its relation to identity, the ...

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