Other books byRoberto Calasso
The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
Presenting the stories of Zeus and Europa, Theseus and Ariadne, the birth of Athens and the fall of Troy, in all their variants, Calasso also uncovers the distant origins of secrets and tragedy, virginity, and rape. "A perfect work like no other. (Calasso) has re-created . . . the morning of our world."--Gore Vidal. 15 engravings.
Stories of the Mind and Gods of India
"A giddy invasion of stories--brilliant, enigmatic, troubling, outrageous, erotic, beautiful." --The New York Times Book Review "So brilliant that you can't look at it anymore--and you can't look at anything else. . . . No one will read it without reward." --The Boston Globe With the same narrative fecundity and imaginative sympathy he brought to his acclaimed retelling of the Greek myths, Roberto Calasso plunges Western readers into the mind of ancient India. He begins with a mystery: Why is the most important god in the Rg Veda, the oldest of India's sacred texts, known by a secret name--"Ka," or Who? What ensues is not an explanation, but an unveiling. Here are the stories of the creation of mind and matter; of the origin of Death, of the first sexual union and the first parricide. We learn why Siva must carry his father's skull, why snakes have forked tongues, and why, as part of a certain sacrifice, the king's wife must copulate with a dead horse. A tour de force of scholarship and seduction, Ka is irresistible. "Passage[s] of such ecstatic insight and cross-cultural synthesis--simply, of such beauty." --The New York Review of Books "All is spectacle and delight, and tiny mirrors reflecting human foibles are set into the weave,turning this retelling into the stuff of literature." --The New Yorker
Literature and the Gods
Brilliant, inspired, and gloriously erudite, Literature and the Gods is the culmination of Roberto Calasso’s lifelong study of the gods in the human imagination. By uncovering the divine whisper that lies behind the best poetry and prose from across the centuries, Calasso gives us a renewed sense of the mystery and enchantment of great literature. From the banishment of the classical divinities during the Age of Reason to their emancipation by the Romantics and their place in the literature of our own time, the history of the gods can also be read as a ciphered and splendid history of literary inspiration. Rewriting that story, Calasso carves out a sacred space for literature where the presence of the gods is discernible. His inquiry into the nature of “absolute literature” transports us to the realms of Dionysus and Orpheus, Baudelaire and Mallarmé, and prompts a lucid and impassioned defense of poetic form, even when apparently severed from any social function. Lyrical and assured, Literature and the Gods is an intensely engaging work of literary affirmation that deserves to be read alongside the masterpieces it celebrates.
La Folie Baudelaire
In La Folie Baudelaire, Roberto Calasso—one of the most original and acclaimed writers on literature, art, culture, and mythology—turns his attention to the poets and writers of Paris in the nineteenth century who created what was later called “the Modern.” His protagonist is Charles Baudelaire: poet of “nerves,” art love, pioneering critic, man about Paris. Calasso ranges through Baudelaire’s life and work, focusing on two painters—Ingres and Delacroix—about whom Baudelaire wrote acutely, and then turns to Degas and Manet, who followed in the tracks Baudelaire laid down in his great essay The Painter of Modern Life. In Calasso’s lavishly illustrated mosaic of stories, insights, close readings of poems, and commentaries on paintings, Baudelaire’s Paris comes brilliantly to life. In the eighteenth century, a Folie was a garden pavilion set aside for people of leisure, a place of delight and fantasy. Following Baudelaire, Calasso has created a brilliant and dramatic “Folie Baudelaire”—a place where the reader can encounter the poet himself, his peers, his city, and his extraordinary likes and dislikes, finally discovering that that places is situated in the middle of the land of “absolute literature.”