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The Ruin of Kasch

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
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 seq ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Belknap Press (first published 1983)
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Apr 30, 2010 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was steered to Calasso's first English translation by Hugh Graham, citing its exploration of man's moral separation from the cosmos as a prime inspiration for his superb-but-little-read book The Vestibule of Hell . I owe Graham a double round of thanks; not content to thrill me with one masterpiece, he has led me directly to a second.

The Ruin of Kasch has three hundred and fifty-six pages that read like half again as many—Calasso, certainly as well-read in a broad field of studies as any auth
Half of this went right over my head - his glosses on the Vedas and Das Kapital, etc. - but what a style!

[the true historian's] desired prey is primarily what has eluded memory and what has had every reason to elude it. After lengthy training in this struggle with the opaque, he will be able to test himself against Plutarchan figures, who are, in contrast, obscured by an excess of testimony - that thick carapace history secretes to keep them remote from us. And the end of his arrogant rise, the
Tom Ewing
Oct 26, 2015 Tom Ewing rated it it was amazing
I started this one as a fresh-face graduate, I finish it 19 years later at roughly the age Roberto Calasso was when he published it, his first book, and the foundational section of his life's work, an exploration of sacrifice, myth and modernity. Most of Calasso's cast and almost all his themes turn up here - Baudelaire; Kafka; the Vedic seers of ancient India and their elaborate edifices of ritual sacrifice. Other figures - like Saint-Beuve and Walter Benjamin - appear as echoes of the author a ...more
Edgar Alvarez
Jan 14, 2013 Edgar Alvarez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

Hay libros que resultan interesantes porque muestran nuevas perspectivas sobre viejos temas. También hay libros que abren puertas que antes no habíamos identificado. Sin embargo, por encima de dichas clases de buenos libros, existen otros de una naturaleza profunda, que buscan abrirse paso hacia el obscuro abismo en el que habita la llama del intelecto humano. La Ruina de K pertenece a esta clase selecta de libros.
Jaime Mozo Dutton
Sep 01, 2015 Jaime Mozo Dutton rated it it was ok
Maybe I'm just becoming dense in my old age or perhaps I lack the patience to give this book a really good go but whatever the reason I just found the form of the narrative in its choppy style unapproachable. It may be far better than I give it credit for but I gave up a quarter of the way in, it's all well and good being clever but fiction should be enjoyable too.
Victoria Jackson
Apr 07, 2016 Victoria Jackson rated it did not like it
I really didn't like the high brow approach which made it virtually unreadable. Little snippets about Napolean, Talleyrand. I ploughed through it - skipped, skimmed over some - too rambling and philosophical.
Nov 30, 2015 Kate marked it as to-buy
5 books editor recommendation
Mar 23, 2009 Ximena rated it it was amazing
pues me lo prestó Javo, quien me dice es su libro favorito.
Jul 25, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the structure and all the digressions are very cool, i don't think i got all his philosophy refs though.
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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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