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Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Come Zeus, sotto forma di toro bianco, rapì la principessa Europa; come Teseo abbandonò Arianna; come Dioniso violò Aura; come Apollo fu servo di Admeto, per amore; come il simulacro di Elena si ritrovò, insieme a quello di Achille, nell'isola di Leukè; come Erigone si impiccò; come Coronis, incinta di Apollo, lo tradì con un mortale; come le Danaidi tagliarono la testa ai ...more
Paperback, Superpocket Best seller, 464 pages
Published 1997 by RL Libri (first published 1988)
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Mar 26, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most profound books that I have ever read have left me speechless, even stammering. Such is the case with Roberto Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, which I have put down no more than fifteen minutes ago. Here is a book about why myths exist, and why Ancient Greece continues to have such a hold on the Western mind.

One of my strange little reading habits is, for each year, to choose a theme that will guide much of my reading for the year. For 2010, I am delving into Ancient Greece
Jim Coughenour
Jul 09, 2007 Jim Coughenour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greekmythology
I've read this book cover to cover 3 times since I bought it in 1993. It's the best book I've ever read on Greek mythology.

Actually, it's more of an extended (and unfailingly brilliant) meditation on Greek mythology, rather than a summary or "explanation." Calasso is some kind of genius: he's not only read everything, he's thought about it, flipped it backwards and forwards and tilted it sideways in his mind, then filtered whatever he's talking about through a sophisticated prism. The result is
Jul 07, 2015 Jonfaith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No, Socrates himself cleared up the point shortly before his death: we enter the mythical when we enter the realm of risk, and myth is the enchantment we generate in ourselves at such moments.

Endorsements on the back matter can be daunting. How do we explain our struggles or indifference with work which is lauded so many which we admire? Half way through this, I was south of neutral and growing impatient. Abandonment was an option. The work then slid out from under its treatment of Athenian myth
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter


(The Assembly of Gods around Jupiter's throne (Giulio Romano, 1532-1534), Sala dei Giganti, Palazzo del Tè, Mantua, Italy)

“Stories never live alone; they are the branches of a family that we have to trace back, and forward.”

To fully understand myths, you need either to have them recited to you or to relate them yourself for their deeper meaning to become apparent, like a veil being lifted on an ancient mystery. This is one of Roberto Calasso's theories. Another is that myths are not dead, but li
Eddie Watkins
Rather than present a distanced and readily understandable survey of Greek mythology, Calasso instead goes into and behind the myths to create a verbal environment that to my mind comes as close as possible to reenacting in the mind of the reader the intellectual feel of living in a living mythology, from both the perspective of the gods and the perspective of mortals, and from both the experience of living life itself and living through reading.

The book is an overlapping series of thematic pat
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
It has rarely happened to me, even with those books I've read and have rated very high here at goodreads. But here it did: I feel resistance giving my copy of this book away. Very unusual for me considering my habit of disposing of books I'm done with, even those I liked a lot, impelled by the logic that good things need to be shared with others and the experience of them has to be spread to as wide an audience as possible.

I had wondered why. I surmised that it must be because of this deeply fe
Feb 01, 2010 max rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a truly remarkable book which puts classical mythology in an entirely new context. It is one of those rare, insightful books that comes along once every fifty years or so. It is a retelling (translated from the Italian) of Greek myth by an exceptionally talented writer in a style that is poetic, provocative, and profound. The author seeks on every page to delve into the deepest meanings of myths: how they came to be, what they tell us about human nature, and what they reveal about the Gr ...more
Victoria Weinstein
Jul 29, 2008 Victoria Weinstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Greek tragedy, philosophy or mythology
Wow. I never thought I'd read this book -- I had flipped through it many times in the bookstore and found it to be rambling and bizarrely organized. But for some reason I purchased it as a used bookstore and decided to read it the right way -- starting on page one, and boy am I glad I did. Calasso does something nearly impossible -- he weaves together all (or almost all) the great stories of Greek antiquity (everything from the Trojan War to the abduction of Persephone) and makes a coherent narr ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Plch marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: limbo
I started this book when it was new, I got it for Christmas in 1988 (actually I received two of them), I started it but I couldn't finish it quickly (it's rather heavy, but not in a bad way... very 'pregnant' of different meanings, allusions, connections... or at least I thought so at the time). A few months afterward the author visited my high school, he was supposed to speak about this same book. Unfortunately, not many of us students were present at the event making him evidently very disappo ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
E' come la spirale dell'ipnosi. Tutto parte da un punto, quasi insignificante, e comincia a disegnare un giro attorno a se stesso, e si ripete ancora, ancora e ancora, all'infinito. Sembra quasi una pellicola ipnotizzante, sul serio. Riflessi dell'immagine originale, di una specie di big bang da cui ha avuto origine una serie di eventi che non fa altro che ripetersi, accamuffandosi in personaggi e luoghi diversi. E noi, che navighiamo in questo mare enorme, che alla fine è una pellicola sola, ci ...more
May 14, 2011 Kua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, b-1-2
Un libro di difficile lettura, ma estremamente affascinante. Più profondo di un semplice saggio, più complesso di un racconto, questo libro racconta il meraviglioso intreccio dell'universo mitologico con una prosa rarefatta e a tratti onirica. I rimandi storici e filosofici sono dosati con una bravura non comune e anche se non si è in possesso di una profonda conoscenza della mitologia, il racconto non perde mai forza e il lettore rimane avvinto nella spirale delle storie raccontate, accenate, t ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: experimental
This was originally published on The Scrying Orb.

Let us try to decipher this strange, dense book. Roberto Calasso takes on Greek mythology.

But what is Greek mythology? Capricious gods. Adulterous heroes. Many headed monsters. Irony. Hubris.

Calasso explains the difference between narrative and myth: A myth has several different versions, different retellings, but the thrust is often the same — there’s always a labyrinth and a monster and a hero and princess but how they got there, who they were,
James Murphy
Jul 16, 2012 James Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Calasso's famous book gives us a new telling of the old Greek myths. It's the familiar couched in a new language so stirring it becomes poetry. Such exquisite language is needed to capture the essence of those moments when the gods are at once themselves and yet are everywhere and everything.

In other writings Calasso has flirted with the idea that the gods were once as real as you and I but that they went away. A lovely idea as romantic as the myths themselves. The marriage of Cadmus and Harmony
Sep 11, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"To invite the gods ruins our relationship with them but sets history in motion. A life in which the gods are not invited isn't worth living. It will be quieter, but there won't be any more stories. And you could suppose that these dangerous invitations were in fact conceived by the gods themselves, because the gods get bored with men who have no stories."

An absolutely brilliant, if meandering, journey through variants of Greek myth. Roberto Calasso writes with evident passion, weaving the ancie
Apr 27, 2011 Ardesia rated it really liked it
Shelves: xxxbc, rc-1000-libri
Un affascinante dedalo di miti, echi di un mondo sospeso tra racconto e leggenda, tra cui è piacevole abbandonarsi guidati dalle virtuose costruzioni letterarie dell'autore. Un libro molto particolare, che non si limita a raccontare il mito, ma che ne ricrea sapientemente atmosfere e malìe, facendo sprofondare il lettore in una dimensione antica e suggestiva.
Oct 05, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be out of step with the Goodreads consensus on this one. I received this book as a gift from a friend who claimed it was one of the best things she'd ever read. There's no doubting Calasso's scholarship, but unless you have a PhD in Greek mythology (or just a boundless fascination in it) then I imagine you'll struggle with this as I did.
Lucian McMahon
Sep 07, 2013 Lucian McMahon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Mythical figures live many lives, die many deaths, and in this they differ from the characters we find in novels, who can never go beyond the single gesture. But in each of these lives and deaths all the others are present, and we can hear their echo. Only when we become aware of a sudden consistency between incompatibles can we say we have crossed the threshold of myth” (22).

“The repetition of a mythical event, with its play of variations, tells us that something remote is beckoning to us. The
Nov 30, 2013 Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant book. Could there be better way to retell and conceive of the Greek myths than the way Calasso does? Rather than trying to make them cohere in detail, rather than trying to find the definitive version of a story or a master narrative that sutures all the tales together, Calasso makes a virtue of their inconsistency, opacity, and repetition. Repetition is part of myth. Opacity is essential, not obstructive. The unaccountability of multiple accounts is part of the stories' mean ...more
Dec 09, 2011 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-of-ideas
Recommended to me by Eloise at a friend's Christmas party. The author, Robert Calasso, wrote the earlier The Ruin of Kasch in 1983, a book admired by Italo Calvino. Dedicated to the French statesman Talleyrand, it was followed in 1988 by The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, in which the tale of Cadmus and his wife Harmonia becomes a pretext for re-telling the great tales of Greek mythology and reflecting on the reception of Greek culture for a contemporary readership. Another world civilization i ...more
Aug 20, 2010 Asma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Asma by: Alkyoni ~ Kingfisher of Books
At the beginning it was hard to wrap my mind around all the new material. This content and the writer's style finally became familiar. The stories turned out to be both imaginative and wonderful and enhanced my knowledge of Greek mythology.
Jan 31, 2017 Deni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi amiga Jaz me invitó a una lectura de poesía en el Varela Varelita. Fui, leí mis poemas, unos 5 tal vez, y cité a Osvaldo Lamborghini, una pequeña viñeta juguetona del Marqués de Sebregondi.
Posteriormente fui a la mesa donde me esperaban mis amigos.
Me puse a hablar de los griegos que son lo único que me importa hace unos meses. Entonces mi amigo Nahuel sacó de su mochila este libro: Deni, esto tenés que leer. Y me lo entregó. Esa noche bebimos mucho whisky. Una gran noche.

Al día siguiente qu
أحمد الحقيل
Jun 30, 2016 أحمد الحقيل rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: م-ت-ل
ربما من أصعب الكتب التي قرأتها، ليس لصعوبة الافكار أو التركيب البانورامي الضخم الذي يقوم به كالاساو دائما، ولكن بسبب السياقات والإحالات الضخمة، والذي أغلبها كان مجهولا بالنسبة لي. جلست مدة طويلة وأنا أقرأه أثناء قراءتي لكتب أخرى، أتركه وأعود إليه وأقفز صفحات وأعيد قراءة أخرى، وانتهيت منه وكأنني أنهيت عشرة كتب بسبب كثرة الأوقات المستقطعة التي قضيتها وأنا أذهب للبحث عن كل تلك الأسماء والإحالات المهمة التي يتكلم عنها، وأعترف أنني انتهيت وفي الكتاب فجوات كثيرة لم أصل إلى كنهها، بل أعترف أكثر أنني لس ...more
Aug 08, 2010 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's rare when I can say I've never read a book quite like this, and this is one of those times. A combination of literature, philosophy, history and a bit of sociology, the closest thing I can compare it to is Bulfinch's "The Age of Fable," but way more inventive and engaging, making the myths relevant to humanity. Calasso retells the Greek myths as a way of examining and attempting to understand ancient Greek culture. What lies behind these fantastic stories we love as children and continue to ...more
Appena terminata la lettura di Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia, posso definirlo il migliore libro sulla mitologia greca che abbia mai letto. Con grande grazia, Calasso è riuscito ad unire un romanzo che raccontasse i miti greci e un saggio sul loro significato.

Infatti, la bellezza di questo romanzo (o saggio?) sulla mitologia greca sta nell'aver inglobato nel mito il suo significato, così come presumibilmente veniva percepito in origine. Ma non solo: Calasso ci mostra il filo conduttore che dal mito
Anthony Bolton
May 01, 2013 Anthony Bolton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 08, 2008 Nachtkind rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a difficult book to read and at times I debated continuing. What kept me going was a) the depth of greek mythology that I was not aware of and was curious about b) something along those same lines with regards to greek history and c) the visions of a perception of reality totally different to my own - that is, a world view grounded in myth rather than modern thought. The book is written as a series of disjointed passages that form a mosaic whole. Nothing is explicitly spelled out f ...more
Elizabeth Pyjov
"No sooner have you grabbed hold of it than myth opens out into a fan of a thousand segments. Here the variant is the origin. Everything that happens, happens this way, or that way, or this other way. And in each of these diverging stories all the others are reflected, all brush by us like folds of the same cloth. If, out of some perversity of tradition, only one version of some mythical event has come down to us, it is like a body without a shadow, and we must do our best to trace out that invi ...more
Dec 15, 2007 Astrid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
longer review later, but an immediate warning is necessary: I think your enjoyment of this book will be determined partly by how familiar you are with Greek mythology. If you're not, the tangential nature of the storytelling may feel too confusing and the names too indistinguishable, especially those figures who are initially mentioned in passing without a character description to help them lodge firmly in your memory.
Zoe Aleshire
Jun 17, 2008 Zoe Aleshire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Facinating in scope and purpose...the greek myths gained real purpose and breadth to me after reading this. Reads more like a meditation or consciousness or novel or something that I can't exactly explain than a list of facts.

Calasso seriously needs a new editor. Didn't bother me overmuch, though I did correct the mistakes as I found them. Still, I was mildly irritated by the occasional abuse of grammar...though not enough to knock off a star.
Jan 03, 2012 Oran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this one summer and it nearly melted my brain, challenging what I thought I knew (and what I didn't know) about Greek mythology. I found myself constantly back peddling and referencing other books to clarify my thoughts.

Then one day I said "screw it," and just read the book without looking at anything else.

It improved my experience a lot and I ended up enjoying the book very much.
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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
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“As the Greeks see it, elegance arises from excavation, from the cavity.” 1 likes
“Le figure del mito vivono molte vite e molte morti, a differenza dei personaggi del romanzo, vincolati ogni volta a un solo gesto.” 0 likes
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