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08 Apr 11

Manuscripts by Romanian Philosopher Cioran Fetch €400,000

Romanian-born philoshoper Emil Cioran was not famous in his native country during his lifetime, but individuals and institutions from Bucharest fought fiercely over his belongings this week.

Marian Chiriac

Pessimism and nihilism were among the main themes of Romanian-born essayist and philosopher Emil Cioran, who spent most of his life in France, living in extremely poor conditions. Ironically enough, exactly 100 years after his birth, Cioran's much sought after belongings have fetched tidy sums on the auction block.

Two public institutions and a businessman fought for over 100 of Cioran's personal objects, including manuscripts, which were auctioned on Thursday in Paris, most selling much higher than the price set at the start of bidding.

In the end, George Brailoiu, a businessman who runs a Bucharest energy company, paid €405,000 for the philosopher’s writings.

The Central University Library in Bucharest, BCU, and state-owned television TVR also took part in the auction, hoping to buy Cioran’s manuscripts, but they only managed to bid on some of the items before the highest bidder snatched the large batch of items.

George Brailoiu on Friday told a local television that he is a long-time admirer of Emil Cioran's works and promised to donate his belongings to the Romanian state eventually.

The auction included 123 objects which had been valued under €100,000 total. All the items were sold above their initial price, which raised the total value of the group of items to €400,000. Emil Cioran’s MA diploma was sold for €17,000, while his bachelor's degree diploma went for €8,000. Two manuscripts written in the Romanian language were sold for €20,000 and €13,000 respectively.

Emil Cioran was one of France's most original twentieth-century philosopher-moralists. He is also acclaimed as one of the greatest prose writers in French of his time.

Cioran, who moved permanently to France in the 1940s, began publishing in French, a language with which he had struggled since his youth, at the same time. All his books, including "A Short History of Decay", "All Gall Is Divided", "The Temptation to Exist" were appreciated not only because of their content, but also because of their style, full of lyricism and fine use of the language.

Emil Cioran was born on April 8, 1911 in the village of Rasinari, Transylvania, then a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He died in 1995 in Paris.

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