Literature and the Gods

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 l

  • Title: Literature and the Gods
  • Author: Roberto Calasso Tim Parks
  • ISBN: 9780375725432
  • Page: 447
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 theBrilliant, 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 Mallarm , 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.

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    About “Roberto Calasso Tim Parks”

    1. Roberto Calasso Tim Parks

      Roberto Calasso born 30 May 1941 in Florence is an Italian publisher and writer He was born into a family of the local upper class, well connected with some of the great Italian intellectuals of their time His maternal grandfather Giovanni Codignola was a professor of philosophy at Florence University Codignola created a new publishing house called La Nuova Italia, in Florence, just like his friend Benedetto Croce had done in Bari with Laterza His uncle Tristano Codignola, partigiano during the Resistenza, after the war joined the political life of the new republic, and was for a while Minister of Education His mother Melisenda who gave up a promising academic career to raise her three children was a scholar of German literature, and had worked on H lderlin s translations of the Greek poet Pindar His father Francesco was a law professor, first at Florence University and then in Rome, where he eventually became dean of his faculty He has been working for Adelphi Edizioni since its founding in 1962 and became its Chairman in 1999 His books have from 1990 been translated into most European languages After a successful career in publishing he has become a leading intellectual citation needed He is the author of a work in progress, that started with The Ruin of Kasch in 1983, a book welcome by Italo Calvino, dedicated to the French statesman Talleyrand and to a reflection on the culture of modernity This was followed in 1988 by The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, a book where the tale of Cadmus and his wife Harmonia becomes a pretext for re writing the great tales of Greek mythology and reflect on the reception of Greek culture for a contemporary readership The trend for portraying whole civilizations continues with Ka where the subject of the re writing is Hindu mythology K instead restricts the focus to one single author Franz Kafka this trend continues with Il rosa Tiepolo, inspired by an adjective used by Proust to describe a shade of pink used by Tiepolo in his paintings With his latest book, La folie Baudelaire, Calasso goes back to the fresco of whole civilisations, this time re writing the lives and works of the artists that revolutionised our artistic taste, the symbolist poets and impressionist painters.His essaystic production is collected in a few books I quarantanove gradini The Forty nine Steps, a collection of essays about major authors and thinkers in European modernity addressed to Pierre Klossowski and his wife His Oxford lessons are collected in Literature and the Gods In 2005 Calasso published La follia che viene dalle ninfe, a collection of essays on the influence of the nymph in literature, which is discussed through authors ranging from Plato to Nabokov.

    697 thoughts on “Literature and the Gods”

    1. "What are writers talking about when they name the gods?" An important question, though Calasso comes obnoxiously close to answering "they are talking about themselves." Poet Stéphane Mallarmé plays a central part in these essays. It is assumed the gods of antiquity were "pagan" gods and to this Calasso barely tries to distinguish what 19th century poets and philosophers like Baudelaire and Mallarmé were trying to preserve by bringing them back alive from Athens and Rome. A pagan god and a Ch [...]


    2. This is a knitted and knotted exegesis on the role and symbolism of the divine in the literary arts, largely poetry in the 19th century. Like the rest of Calasso, that thesis is but a point of departure to a sinuous journey which broaches a kaleidoscope of concepts and figures.Whether the pretexts spoke of race or class, the one sufficient reason for killing your enemies was always the same: these people were harmful to society. Society becomes the subject above all subjects. There is much to ma [...]


    3. "Podemos ser justos se não formos humanos."— Isidore DucasseEstes textos são baseados "nas prestigiosas Weindenfeld Lectures feitas por Roberto Calasso em Oxford em Maio de 2000". Não percebi nem metade. Dezenas de palavras e nomes que não faço ideia do que significam ou quem são. Muitas referências a autores que não li, ou li pouco: Lautréamont, Hölderlin, Mallarmé, Nietzsche, Novalis e muitos outros (qualquer mania que eu tivesse de ser grande leitora, já me passou - quanto mais [...]


    4. Literature and the Gods is a short, dense essay rather than the more literary-historical or conspective account the title might lead one to expect. In fact, Calasso has a refined Continental theorists’s contempt for mere literary history, which he seems to regard as a vast exercise in missing the point of what has happened over the last two hundred years: western literature has broken free of all received forms and historical determinants; it has become “absolute literature,” and “absolu [...]


    5. Calasso non me sbaglia una."Ninfa è il medium dove gli dèi e gli uomini avventurosi si incontrano. Quanto agli dèi, come riconoscerli ? In questo, gli scrittori sono sempre stati felicemente spregiudicati. Hanno sempre agito come se sottintendessero una illuminata osservazione di Erza Pound: <>. Scrittore è colui che vede quei <>.Quanto alla verità esoterica di Lolita, Nabokov questa volta la addensò in una minuscola frase celata come una scheggia di diamante nell'intrico del r [...]


    6. Wanted to read this for many years. Typical of Calasso, it is heavy going. Turn to it from time to time, read a little over half in a year and a half. Finally have "finished," at least reading the words a first time from beginning to end. Reminds me a bit of Calvino's Six Memos For The Next Millennium. Our book club read his The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony a number of years ago.Worth the struggle for the challenging ideas and the enthusiasm. Like the passage on nymphs -- "To approach a Nymph [...]


    7. I've tagged this as lit-crit ("criticism") but I'm not sure that's really the right way to describe this book. Criticism is usually more sober and this book is ecstatic--maybe a little too much at times. Not as much as The White Goddess, certainly. This is a scholarly work of sorts, but what on earth is it saying? It's really about a specific transformation in literature in the 19th century rather than a tracing of the gods in literature throughout the ages, as the cover copy might imply. What h [...]


    8. It's a very interesting read; very lucidly written and the prose is beautiful. But I have serious reservations about some of the ideas and the congruence of some of with the rest of the text as well But yes, very well written.



    9. I absolutely loved this book, and have benefited immensely from returning to it twice. In contrast to some of my fellow reviewers, I didn't think it was a slog, but I do think it's fair to say that this is not the kind of book that drills its thesis into you. After reading it for the first time I felt some vibrations of inspiration, but wasn't able to paraphrase the main points coherently. Calasso remarks somewhere in the book the the only viable form of paraphrasing a work of literature is the [...]


    10. I'm likely not erudite enough to fully appreciate Calasso's work here, and can only attempt to wrap my head around his central ideas. And all of this saddens me, because his Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony was a book that has stayed with me for years. I think the problem is in my background. Mythology served me little here, despite the title, when a better grounding in 19th century continental lit was what I needed here. Not that I have much more of a desire to get that grounding after slugging t [...]


    11. I well-told tale, full of beautiful quotations and unexpected comparisons, signifying absolutely Nothing. Which, of course, is the purpose: to prove that nothing is as metaphysically enticing as Nothing, to make one long for the sweetness of its unheard music. In this Calasso both fails blandly and succeeds grandly. Which is also the point.


    12. I enjoyed this book. It covers a lot of things relevant to my own artistic enterprise. Many things I already knew, but other things were new (Indian mythology). Calasso writes elegantly, blessed with great erudition. Recommended to anyone who takes literature very seriously.


    13. Calasso is a master, his treatment of texts no less sublime than his prose. He's invited to my Kaffeeklatsch.


    14. A thought provoking work about reading and gods. Rather interesting, and something I find impossible to review because I am always thinking about it. Have to say I love the comments about reading.



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