Literature and the Gods by Roberto Calasso

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Roberto Calasso

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Roberto Calasso, publisher of Adelphi in Milan, is the author of many books, among them The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, K., and Tiepolo Pink, all parts of a work in progress of which La Folie Baudelaire is the sixth panel. Alastair McEwen has translated almost ninety books of fiction and nonfiction and seven feature film scripts, as well as radio play adaptations, operative librettos, and many hundreds of articles for various magazines and newspapers. He has also translated some of Italy's finest writers (Calasso, Eco, Tabucchi, and many others). He lives and works in Milan.
Published June 4, 2010 by Vintage. 224 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Non-fiction

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Regardless of literary preference, his gorgeous, vivid turns of phrase are a pleasure, and Parks's translation retains Calasso's grace and poise, doing justice to his lovely metaphors ("literature can become an effective stratagem for sneaking the gods out of the universal clinic and getting them...

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