The Ruin of Kasch

Category: Book
By (author): Calasso, Roberto
Translated By: Dixon, Richard
Subject:  HISTORY / Civilization
  HISTORY / Europe / France
  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / Revolutionary
Awards: NPR Best Book of the Year (2017) Long-listed
Amazon.com Best Books of the Year (2017) Long-listed
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Published: January 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 432
Size: 8.32in x 5.90in x 1.12in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*The Ruin of Kasch takes up two subjects-"the first is Talleyrand, and the second is everything else," wrote Italo Calvino when the book first appeared in 1983. Hailed as one of those rare books that persuade us to see our entire civilization in a new light, its guide is the French statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, who knew the secrets of the ancien régime and all that came after, and was able to adapt the notion of "legitimacy" to the modern age. Roberto Calasso follows him through a vast gallery of scenes set immediately before and after the French Revolution, making occasional forays backward and forward in time, from Vedic India to the porticoes of the Palais-Royal and to the killing fields of Pol Pot, with appearances by Goethe and Marie Antoinette, Napoleon and Marx, Walter Benjamin and Chateaubriand. At the center stands the story of the ruin of Kasch, a legendary kingdom based on the ritual killing of the king and emblematic of the ruin of ancient and modern regimes. Offered here in a new translation by Richard Dixon, The Ruin of Kasch is, as John Banville wrote, "a great fat jewel-box of a book, gleaming with obscure treasures."
Review Quote*Praise for Robert Calasso "Calasso absorbs absolutely everything. The mind of this gentleman is nothing less than the history of civilization in miniature. He's a crucible: he mingles East and West; he extracts, and the aim is infinity. I would say that Calasso is the only man on the Continent with whom conversation is totally rewarding." -Joseph Brodsky
Biographical NoteRoberto 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 . Richard Dixon lives and works in Italy. His translations include Ardor and The Art of the Publisher by Roberto Calasso, and The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco. He is one of the translators of FSG's edition of Leopardi's Zibaldone .