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In his book on Bucharest, Paul Moraud gives a sketch of bohemian intellectual life and its unbridled ferment of new ideas in all-night discussion and passionate quarrels at the legendary Brasserie Capsa in the Calea Victoriei, where Cioran proposed his nightmare visions of despair to Eugene Ionesco, Mircea Eliade and an assortment of pugnacious Romanian revolutionary thinkers.Yet Cioran, after his experiences in Germany, was beginning to see salvation only in totalitarian regimes and he wrote a work of which he was later deeply ashamed, a youthful squib, The Transformation of Romania (1937).Cioran lived in various small Latin Quarter hotels, first in the Rue Racine, opposite the house where Sarah Bernhardt was born, then in the Hotel Marignan in the Rue Sommer and, near the Librairie Portugaise and a number of esoteric bookshops.
In few authors is the work so much a part of the life as in the writings of Emil Cioran.
But his Aries character shows through the conventional appearance in his great, lined, thick-eyebrowed forehead and his abundant prow of dense dark hair, his plunging, obstinate nose, a mouth whose initial fullness was elongated into a bitter, brooding thinness within the deepening ravines bracketing it on either side.
Gisele Freud's remarkable 1982 series of colour photographs of the man, and Irmeli Jung's black-and-white studies are profoundly revealing of the genius who was an aristocrat of doubt and a mystical misanthrope of disturbing lucidity, but whose grim sense of destructive humour is deeply satisfying.
Such despairing pessimism had, as is often the case, profound roots in childhood.
The prosperous country town of Rasinari in Saxon Transylvania seemed like an earthly paradise to the little boy.
The passage came with his departure for Paris with a grant from the Institut Francais in Bucharest, the gift of an enlightened director who was one of the rare people fully to appreciate Cioran's unique personality, and his special needs as a writer.