Taking as his focus the periods immediately before and after the French Revolution but making occasional sallies backward and forward in time - from Vedic India to the porticoes of the Palais-Royal and to the killing fields of Pol Pot - Calasso recounts, elucidates, and interprets the downfall of what Baudelaire was already calling "the Modern." This downfall came as a sequel to an earlier and opposite collapse: that of the archaic societies which were regulated by the movements of the stars and the rituals of sacrifice. At the center of the work stands the story of the ruin of Kasch, a legendary African kingdom whose annihilation becomes emblematic of the ruin of the ancient and modern worlds. The genius of Calasso's book is that, in its illuminating blend of literature and ideas, it establishes a genre all its own. Its form is a rich blend of anecdotes, quotations, analysis, digressions, aphorisms, dialogues, historical discussion, and straightforward storytelling that beautifully mirrors its subject matter and evokes the protean spirit of Modernism. It is a sumptuous literary feast. Calasso brings to his stage a vast gallery of characters, including Laclos and Marx, Benjamin and Chateaubriand, Sainte-Beuve and Levi-Strauss, Max Stirner and Joseph de Maistre. And presiding over them all is the French statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, who knew the secrets of both the Old and New regimes and who was able to adjust the perplexing and cruel notion of "legitimacy" to the modern age. Cynical Talleyrand - who showed that success in the new era depends on agility, fluidity, and a consummate sense of style - serves, fittingly, as the master of ceremonies throughout the book,which is at once a meditation on the origins and nature of power and a breathtaking synthesis of Western cultural history. It is an extraordinary reading experience.
Roberto Calasso is the author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, as well as a novel and many literary and philosophical essays. He is Director of the publishing house Adelphi Edizioni in Milan.
Descrizione libro Belknap Press 1996-03-01, 1996. Paper Back. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria 20070626115470
Descrizione libro Belknap Press, 1996. Condizione libro: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Focusing on the periods immediately before and after the French Revolution, Roberto Calasso recounts and interprets the downfall of what Baudelaire was already calling "the Modern". With French statesman Tallyrand serving as the book's "master of ceremonies", Calasso persuades us to see our civilization in an entirely new light. Codice libro della libreria ABE_book_new_0674780299
Descrizione libro Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Second Printing. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0674780299
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97806747802931.0
Descrizione libro Belknap Press, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0674780299
Descrizione libro Belknap Press, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110674780299