posted November 18, 2008

Ion Agheana Featured in Book on Emil Cioran

Dr. Ion Agheana, professor of Romance languages at Hope College, is one of only six scholars worldwide featured in the book "Cioran. El pesimista seductor" ("Cioran.  The Seductive Pessimist"), which focuses on the work and life of Romanian philosopher and essayist Emil Cioran.

The book was published in Spanish by Sirpus Literaria of Barcelona, Spain, in the fall of 2007.  Sponsored by the Ministry of Education in Spain, the volume features two scholars from Spain, two from France and two from the U.S. It was edited by Carlos Caneque and Maite Grau, and includes interviews with Agheana as well as Fernando Savater, Simone Boue, Matei Calinescu, Ana Simon and Philippe Garnier.

Cioran (1911-1995) was born and raised in Romania but spent most of his adult life in France.  His work, which was initially written in Romanian and from the 1940s onward in French, is characterized by pessimism, considering life, ideologies, religions, love and other concerns as delusions of imagination.

Agheana is celebrated among those interviewed as among the greatest scholars of the work of Cioran, and his interview is among the most extensive in the book.

It is the second time that he has been interviewed by Caneque for a book about an influential writer.  He is also among the scholars featured in Caneque's 1995 book "Conversaciones sobre Borgres" ("Conversations about Borges"), a discussion of the work of Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, which was published by Destino Publishing House of Barcelona.

Like Cioran, Agheana is originally from Romania, and, also like Cioran, Agheana studied at the University of Bucharest, although more than a quarter century later.  Agheana earned the Licence es Lettres from the University of Bucharest in 1961.

Agheana came to the U.S. in the latter 1960s, completing his master's and doctorate at Harvard University in Spanish in 1967 and 1970 respectively.

He joined the Hope faculty in 1979 after previously teaching at Dartmouth College, and while he primarily teaches Spanish he has also taught French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.  He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including three books of his own about Borges:  "Existentialism and the Dynamics of Surprise"; "The Meaning of Experience in the Prose of J.L. Borges"; and "A Reasoned Thematic Dictionary of the Prose of Jorges Luis Borges."