Emil Cioran (April 8, 1911 - June 20, 1995) was a writer noted for works in the French language. He was born in Rasinari, Sibiu, Romania, and died in Paris, having variously lived in Bucharest, Berlin, and elsewhere. He attended Bucharest University, where he in 1928 met Eugène Ionesco and Mircea Eliade, and the three became lifelong friends. He also began an association with the Iron Guard, a fascist organization which he supported until the early years of World War II. He later renounced the organization and frequently expressed regret and repentance for his participation in it. Some critics have seen his remorse at his participation in the Iron Guard as the source of the pessimism which characterized his later work, although others trace it back to events in his childhood (in 1935 his mother is reputed to have told him that if she had known he was going to be so unhappy she would have aborted him).

A 1937 scholarship from the French Institute in Bucharest brought him to Paris, where he lived the rest of his life—though he famously said "I have no nationality—the best possible status for an intellectual." His early work was in Romanian, his latter work in French, and it was mostly in the form of aphorisms and short essays. Nietzche influenced him greatly.

William Gass called Cioran's work "a philosophical romance on modern themes of alienation, absurdity, boredom, futility, decay, the tyranny of history, the vulgarities of change, awareness as a agony, reason as disease."

Major works