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Literature and the Gods

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  8 reviews
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and Ka, a stunning summation of his lifelong study of the role of the gods in the human imagination. Based on the prestigious Weidenfeld Lectures Roberto Calasso gave at Oxford in May 2000, Literature and the Gods traces the return of pagan divinities to Western literature from their first reap ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 13th 2001 by Knopf (first published 2001)
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Lily
Apr 10, 2014 Lily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Interest in Lit criticism
Recommended to Lily by: F2F Book Club friend
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
...more
Genevieve
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 ...more
Mason
loses one star for being perhaps too brilliant at times.
James Meyer
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 ...more
Johan Herrenberg
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.
Chris
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.
Regina Freyman
Sigo en el rapto desde que lo leí.
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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 ...more
More about Roberto Calasso...
The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India The Ruin of Kasch K. La Folie Baudelaire

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“Whatever else it might be, the divine is certainly the thing that imposes with maximum intensity the sensation of being alive.” 5 likes
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