A Short History of Decay (1949) is E. M. Cioran's nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short History of Decay dissects Man's decadence in a remarkable series of moving and beautiful pieces.
E. M. Cioran (1911-1995) was one of Central Europe's most remarkable philosophers, author of what William Gass called romances on 'alienation, absurdity, boredom, futility, decay, the tyranny of history, the vulgarities of change, awareness as agony, reason as disease'. A Romanian, he lived much of his life in Paris and many of his major works were written in French, including A Short History of Decay, The Trouble with Being Born and Drawn and Quartered.