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Roberto Calasso (1941–2021)

Author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

39+ Works 5,041 Members 55 Reviews 12 Favorited

About the Author

Roberto Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni and lives in Milan. The Ruin of Kasch is the first book in an ongoing series that includes The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, K., Tiepolo Pink, La Folie Baudelaire, and Ardor.
Image credit: Roberto Calasso, en 1986

Works by Roberto Calasso

The Ruin of Kasch (1983) 452 copies
Literature and the Gods (2001) 334 copies
K. (2002) 299 copies
La folie Baudelaire (2008) 208 copies
Ardor (2010) 163 copies
Tiepolo Pink (2009) 150 copies
The Art of the Publisher (2013) 133 copies
The Unnamable Present (2017) 127 copies
The Celestial Hunter (2016) 120 copies
Cómo ordenar una biblioteca (2020) 116 copies
The Book of All Books (2019) 115 copies
The Forty-Nine Steps (1991) 109 copies

Associated Works

A Pilgrim's Journey: The Autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1555) — Translator, some editions — 551 copies
The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing (1995) — Contributor — 175 copies
Winding Paths: Photographs by Bruce Chatwin (1998) — Editor, some editions — 54 copies


20th century (45) Ancient Greece (27) art (38) autobiography (33) biography (75) classics (41) criticism (58) cultural history (30) essay (78) essays (86) fiction (224) first edition (18) Greece (56) Greek (23) Greek mythology (71) Hinduism (51) history (119) Ignatius of Loyola (27) India (78) Italian (87) Italian literature (136) Italy (79) Kafka (29) literary criticism (137) literature (213) myth (60) mythology (449) narrativa (25) non-fiction (122) novel (41) philosophy (109) read (20) religion (97) Roberto Calasso (30) Saints (37) short stories (19) spirituality (19) to-read (169) translation (38) unread (35)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Calasso, Roberto
Legal name
Calasso, Roberto
Date of death
Florence, Italy
Place of death
Milan, Italy
University of Rome (Ph.D)
Jaeggy, Fleur (wife)
Fröhlich, Anna Katharina (first wife)
Adelphi Edizione
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Honorary member, 2015)
Awards and honors
Viareggio Prize (2001)
Bagutta Prize (2002)
Prix Formentor (2018)
The Wylie Agency
Short biography
Roberto Calasso (Florence, 1941) promoveerde op jonge leeftijd bij Mario Praz en trad vervolgens in dienst bij de vooraanstaande uitgeverij Adelphi te Milaan, waarvan hij sinds 1968 directeur is. Hij debuteerde in 1974 met L’impuro folle, over het geval-Schreber, een van de meest intrigerende kwesties uit de geschiedenis van de psycho-analyse. In 1983 volgde La rovina di Kasch, waarin hij een nieuwe geschiedenis schrijft van de Europese cultuur sinds de romantiek. Zijn internationale doorbraak kwam in 1988 met De bruiloft van Cadmus en Harmonia, dat inmiddels in meer dan tien talen werd vertaald.



This brief book is one to read, reread, and consult when reading the great literature with ancient beginnings since it provides an extraordinary and perceptive analysis of the nature of the literature of classical mythology. The Weidenfeld Lectures Calasso delivered at Oxford in 2000 represent Calasso's lifetime investigation into the gods providing the basis for Literature and the Gods. The book follows the reemergence of paganism in Western literature from the early modern period to the present.

This is a brilliant, imaginative, and beautifully scholarly work. Calasso gives us a renewed understanding of the mystique and magic of great literature by revealing the divine whisper that lurks underneath the greatest poetry and prose from throughout history. Even though it is a brief yet deep essay, it takes the reader on a personal tour of contemporary European literature and philosophy. I found it was not only smart, but inspired and intellectual as well.

The history of the gods can also be interpreted as a ciphered and magnificent history of creative inspiration, from the exile of the classical divinities during the Age of Reason to their release by the Romantics and their role in the literature of our own day. By rewriting that tale, Calasso creates a hallowed literary realm where the gods' influence can be felt. His investigation into "absolute literature" takes us to the worlds of Dionysus and Orpheus, Baudelaire and Mallarme, and inspires a clear-eyed and passionate defense of poetic form, even when it appears to be detached from any social role. Literature and the Gods, a lyrical and confident work of literary affirmation, is deserving of reading among the greats.
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jwhenderson | 3 other reviews | Aug 27, 2023 |
L’infanzia punteggiata di ricordi lievi e delicati, già intrisa dell’amore per i libri. Un alone di perdita circonda queste parole, purtroppo le ultime date alle stampe prima della morte di Calasso.
d.v. | May 16, 2023 |
Raccolta di saggi non del tutto coesa, dove a farla da padrone è quello che le dà il titolo. Qui Calasso spazia con leggerezza da indicazioni su come ricoprire i libri a come ordinarli secondo la regola “del buon vicino”, regalando riflessioni profonde su ciò che contraddistingue un vero lettore che non possono che regalare a chi sia - o si senta tale - momenti di piacere intellettuale.
d.v. | 1 other review | May 16, 2023 |
Un bel ritratto di un uomo tanto influente quanto misterioso, un uomo di un’altra epoca così impregnato di letteratura da farsi lui stesso figura letteraria.
d.v. | May 16, 2023 |



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