the major death of minor literatures: Cioran & Eliade, the setters & killers of trends / & leap-frogging world wars – genealogies of vitalism / irrationalism / Nietzscheanism

In the 1920s, youth were a rising force throughout Europe. Besides, according to Klaus Mann, “the European generation that had grown up during the First World War” was highly sensitive to the existing “moral and social crisis,” the general crisis of European values. The war and the national revolutions it produced had caused people to question all established values. “Yes, we became familiar with this apocalyptic atmosphere quite early in our lives,” wrote Mann, arguing that the conventions of bourgeois life and morals, valid for the generation of their parents, were perceived by the young generation as “utterly obsolete.” “Amid widespread emptiness and dissolution,” in this “Twilight of the Gods,” “the moral and rational values” that had previously ensured the cohesion of the world collapsed, to be replaced by the young generation’s penchant for irrationalism and vitalism, for biological and erotic values.

– Marta Petreu, An Infamous Past: E.M. Cioran and the Rise of Fascism in Romania, trans. Bogdan Aldea, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2005, p. 202 [the Klaus Mann citations are from Le tournant, Histoire d’une vie, trans. from German by Nicole Roche and Henri Roche, Solin, Arles, Paris, 1984, pp. 160-2]

– Emil Cioran

– Mircea Eliade