Calasso, Roberto The Ruin of Kasch

ISBN 13: 9780856357138

The Ruin of Kasch

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9780856357138: The Ruin of Kasch
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In the African kingdom of Kasch the king should be sacrificed when the stars come into a particular alignment. One day a stranger arrives who tells such good yarns the priests forget to watch the skies. The king survives. Sacrifice is abolished, but the kingdom begins to decline. Using this Bedouin legend Roberto Calasso questions the legitimacy of power, tyranny and sacrifice. Talleyrand is the master of ceremonies and guides the reader into real and symbolic places. We are accompanied by Marie-Antoinette, Bentham, Goethe, Baudelaire, Marx, Chateaubriand, three gruesome assassins and assorted other folk. They all contribute to Calasso's vision of history which encompasses both narrative and reflection and reveals how ideas and actual events impinge upon one another.

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Review:

"The Ruin of Kasch takes up two subjects: the first is Talleyrand, and the second is everything else. And everything else includes all the things that have happened in human history, from the beginnings of civilization until today...A book that loves to reveal itself as wandering and vagrant, guided only by fancy and by an insatiable curiosity, constructed of fragments, citations, digressions, anecdotes, and aphorisms--all so that it can be read with nearly continuous pleasure. �This is� a work charged with intelligence and literary seduction...A master of obliquity, �Calasso� delights in the bishop's move: his ideas and conceits veer in all directions, striking an exhilarating balance between the aleatory and the deliberate. Profligate in its voices and conversations, this startling, puzzling, profound book yields no take-away thesis; but it lingers in the memory like the aroma of an ancient library. -- Sunil Khilnani "New York Times Book Review" [This is] a work charged with intelligence and literary seduction...A master of obliquity, [Calasso] delights in the bishop's move: his ideas and conceits veer in all directions, striking an exhilarating balance between the aleatory and the deliberate. Profligate in its voices and conversations, this startling, puzzling, profound book yields no take-away thesis; but it lingers in the memory like the aroma of an ancient library.--Sunil Khilnani "New York Times Book Review " The book--like an explosion carrying sky-high the wreckage of a city--is an appropriately chaotic and fast-moving assemblage...One minute, the reader is present at the Congress of Vienna; the next, in Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime.--Andrea Lee "New Yorker " Calasso seems to have plundered no less than a national library to make this demanding but unfailingly provocative book. Its theme...is the shallowness of the modern mind, and because of the very workings of modern culture that Calasso so astutely analyzes, I hesitate to apply to his book the epithet it richly deserves: masterpiece...Like all great books, it reads us more truly than we read it. And like all great works of art or reflection, it may make you change your life.--Jay Tolson "Civilization " Philosophical, meandering, allegorical, funny, tragic, episodic, "The Ruin of Kasch" declares war on all ideologies...Those of you who love small, sensible, linear novels--this book will cure you of your shivers and qualms...Long live Calassotherapy!--Frederic Vitoux "Le Nouvel Observateur " "The Ruin of Kasch" takes up two subjects: the first is Talleyrand, and the second is everything else. And everything else includes all the things that have happened in human history, from the beginnings of civilization until today...A book that loves to reveal itself as wandering and vagrant, guided only by fancy and by an insatiable curiosity, constructed of fragments, citations, digressions, anecdotes, and aphorisms--all so that it can be read with nearly continuous pleasure.--Italo Calvino "Panorama Mese " With "The Ruin of Kasch" Roberto Calasso has perhaps inaugurated a new literary category: the hybrid book, uniting history and novel, tale and aphorism, fable and reflection...One doesn't know what to admire more: the erudition that laughs at erudition, the supple and imperious thinking that connects disparate elements with a single stroke, the masterful way the subject engenders its own form...A very great book.--Pascal Bruckner "Le Figaro " Scarcely have readers opened the book when they are not merely interested but fascinated--dazzled in the richest sense of the word...Here is a work that combines erudition, brilliance of style, and intellectual virtuosity to portray the modern era.--Francois Bott "Le Monde " "The Ruin of Kasch" is not a narrative but an inexhaustible mine of anecdotes, not an essay but an endless string of brilliant insights into literature, history, philosophy, economics, politics--in short, into the makings and unmakings of the modern world.--Masolino d'Amico "Times Literary Supplement "

Book Description:

'The Ruin of Kasch raises more complicated issues, more intelligently, than most historical works; it is keenly argued and seasoned with wit' - Frederick Raphael, Sunday Times

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780674780293: The Ruin of Kasch

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0674780299 ISBN 13:  9780674780293
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 1996
Softcover

9780674780262: The Ruin of Kasch

Harvar..., 1995
Hardcover

9780099576310: The Ruin Of Kasch

Vintage, 1995
Softcover

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Calasso Roberto
Published by Carcanet Press (1994)
ISBN 10: 0856357138 ISBN 13: 9780856357138
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