Emile Cioran (8 April 1911 – 20 June 1995) was a Romanian philosopher and essayist.

Emile M. Cioran was born in Răşinari, Sibiu County, which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. His father, Emilian Cioran, was a Romanian Orthodox priest, while his mother, Elvira Cioran (born Comaniciu), was originally from Veneţia de Jos, a commune near Făgăraş.

After studying humanities at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School in Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Cioran, aged 17, started to study philosophy at the University of Bucharest. Upon his entrance into the University, he met Eugène Ionesco and Mircea Eliade, the three of them becoming lifelong friends. Future Romanian philosopher Constantin Noica and future Romanian thinker Petre Ţuţea, became his closest colleagues for they all had Tudor Vianu and Nae Ionescu as their professors. Cioran, Eliade, and Ţuţea became supporters of the ideas that their philosophy professor, Nae Ionescu, had become a fervent advocate of a tendency deemed Trăirism, which fused Existentialism with ideas common in various forms of Fascism.

Cioran had a good command of German. His first studies revolved around Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, and especially Friedrich Nietzsche. He became an agnostic, taking as an axiom "the inconvenience of existence". During his studies at the University he was also influenced by the works of Georg Simmel, Ludwig Klages and Martin Heidegger, but also by the Russian philosopher Lev Shestov, who added the belief that life is arbitrary to Cioran’s central system of thought. He then graduated with a thesis on Henri Bergson (however, Cioran later rejected Bergson, claiming the latter did not comprehend the tragedy of life).

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