Wednesday March 31st, 2010

Embracing Insomnia

cioranI didn’t know the New York Times has a blog entirely devoted to insomnia. It’s called All-Nighters.

The most recent post is by Gordon Marino, who explores the subject of sleeplessness in literature, especially in the work of E. M. Cioran (at left), the cheery, aphoristic philosopher who wrote books like The Trouble With Being Born, A Short History of Decay, and On the Heights of Despair. Marino:

Hordes of artists throw their arms around their melancholy as though it were the very taproot of their creativity. Kierkegaard, for instance, referred to his melancholy as his best and most loyal friend. Cioran felt a similar attachment to his insomnia. While he cursed his nocturnal suffering and used morphine, among other things, to try and knock himself out, he ultimately understood his long journeys into the sickly morning light as both crushing him and yet shaping his sensibilities. After all, isn’t wakefulness good? And sleeplessness a sort of wakefulness? “What rich or strange idea,” asks Cioran, “was ever the work of a sleeper?”