Roberto Calasso, Renaissance Man of Letters, Dies at 80

Roberto Calasso, Renaissance Man of Letters, Dies at 80

“Calasso carved out a brand new house as an mental, retelling delusion as true, actually as true as science,” Tim Parks, who labored with Mr. Calasso on the English translation of “The Marriage of Cadmus and Concord,” stated in an interview. “His implication is at all times that we’re as topic as our ancestors had been to the forces that discover their names in Zeus or Venus or Yahweh or Shiva.”

In a 2012 interview with The Paris Overview, Mr. Calasso spoke about humanity’s seek for transcendence, be it by artwork, nature or faith, as his central mental pursuit. “All of my books need to do with possession,” he stated. “Ebbrezza — rapture — is a phrase related with possession. In Greek the phrase is mania, insanity. For Plato it was the primary path to information.”

Roberto Calasso was born in Florence, Italy, in 1941, right into a household of prodigious intellectuals. His maternal grandfather, Ernesto Codignola, was a professor of philosophy on the College of Florence and based a publishing home, La Nuova Italia. His father, Francesco Calasso, taught the historical past of regulation on the College of Florence, and his mom, Melisenda Calasso, was a literary scholar and translator.

With the rise of fascism in Italy, his father was persecuted for his anti-fascist views. When Roberto was 3, the household went into hiding after his father was jailed and accused of conspiring to kill Giovanni Gentile, an mental who thought of himself the founding thinker of Italian fascism.

In 1954, his household moved to Rome, the place Mr. Calasso fell in love with cinema and with Greek and Roman literature and mythology. In 1962, when he was 21, he began working on the newly fashioned publishing home Adelphi Edizioni, with the promise that it could be a spot the place editors may “publish the books we really favored,” Mr. Calasso advised The Paris Overview.

A decade later, he turned editorial director and rapidly developed a repute for his distinctive tastes and his ardour for publishing underappreciated writers like Robert Walser and the German poet Gottfried Benn.

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