CHARACTERS Ù Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia

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Le nozze di Cadmo e ArmoniaLos demás relatos son un fruto tardíoPero el auge del cristianismo ue uiere enterrar la cultura pagana y sobre todo el devenir racionalista de nuestra cultura han preferido olvidarlos Calasso en cambio cree ue esas historias siguen vivas y ue hay ue volver a contarlas aunue «los modernos» las crean obsoletas y sin valor ¿Cómo hacerlo Renunciando al discurso erudito; entretejiendo a partir de esas fuentes. These things never happened but are alwaysthree reviewsBy reviewers in alphabetical orderRandom review review by Jean Paul Werner Walshaw SauterNext review review by JonfaithPrevious review review by Riku SarajI recently considered removing this book from my library to make room for others Tonight I perused the three reviews above by GR friends of mine Each reviewer lends a view of the book from a distinct perspective All rate the book highly All obviously got something from the bookBut individually and collectively they have convinced me that the book is simply beyond me I have neither the erudition the dogged persistence nor the interest to attempt it Any one of these would probably be sufficient to encourage meSo I will contribute my copy to Better World Books and hope it someday resides in a reader’s hands who will read it and treasure itthe bookThe book has no index a grave failure for a book as dense as this is and as interwoven Neither do the chapters have titles or any other sort of heading beyond a Roman numeralI determined that I should give some indication of what the book is like Thus I’ve randomly selected five of the chapters and for each give below the first few lines which Calasso writesIIIDelos was a hump of deserted rock drifting about the sea like a stalk of asphodel It was here that Apollo was born in a place not even wretched slave girls would come to hide their shame Before Leda the only creatures to give birth on that godforsaken rock had been the sealsXFrom time to time the heroes would get together for some common adventure a hunting party a conuest a war The prey might be a fabulous animal or an image s state the Calydonian Boar the Golden Fleece the Trojan Palladium They are a magnificent sight the heroes lining up in disciplined ranks on the benches of the Argo muscles glistening like flamesXIIZeus is never ridiculous because his dignity is of no concern to him ”Non bene convenient nec in una sede morantur Maiestas et amor” say Ovid master of matters erotic To seduce a woman with a bundle of lightning bolts in one’s hand would be injudicious and not even very exciting But a white bull an eagle a swan a false satyr a stallion a stream of gold a blaze of fire these are divineVIIIZeus was sitting on a stool He stared into the distance A breeze twitched his beard which was streaked with gray Something was going on inside his head bringing on a drunken weariness When Zeus had swallowed his wife Metis on the advice of Ge and Uranus who told him she would one day give birth to a god even stronger than himself and capable of usurping his power Metis was already pregnant with AthenaIVOf the Olympians the first thing we can say is that they were newgods They had names and shapes But Herodotus assures is that “before yesterday” no one knew “where any of these gods had come from nor whether they had existed eternally nor what they looked like” When Herodotus says “yesterday” he means Hesiod and Homer whom he calculated as having lived four centuries before himself“Why are these not in order” you may ask But they are in order the order that the random selection gave them And that may be as good an order as any to even read them inAfter all Calasso couldn’t be bothered – or perhaps wasn’t able to give the chapters names some words expressing their theme or indicating their place in his overall narrative a reason why they had been written at allMight it be that this extended essay on Greek mythology is so dense with interwoven stories constantly intersecting threads of observations that it becomes like the myths themselves – perhaps having a starting and ending place the latter less likely than the former – but in between an unresolvable skein of pathways tunnels underground borings flights of fancy looping back and forth interconnected in such a way that there is no preferred way to make the journey or even tell if you’ve reached a place at which to end ita final observationI've seen several suggestions the book should be approached as fiction – or perhaps as very creative non fiction This might even be the key to enjoying the journey it takes a reader on and avoiding disappointment Do not confuse this book with The Golden Bough nor with The Masks of God Previous review Between the World and Me a black writer’s letter to his sonRandom review East of EdenNext review The Match golf that isPrevious library review As God CommandsNext library review Days of Abandonment

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CHARACTERS Ù Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia í Este libro inaugura uno de los ciclos literarios más originales e intensos de los desarrollados entre finales del siglo XX y lo ue va del XXI la obra inclasificable de Roberto Calasso Y no gira en torno a la imaginación o la inventiva de un escritor ue construye un mundo propio gira en cambio en Un modo nuevo fresco y envolvente de decir esas historias Lo impresionante en Calasso no es solo su capacidad de nadar a contracorriente sino su talento para ue ese mundo aparezca vivo lleno de colorido presente y actual«Pero ¿cómo había comenzado todo» se pregunta Calasso en este libro A treinta años de distancia de su primera edición sabemos la respuesta todo comenzó con Las bodas de Cadmo y Harmoní. What can one write about a book which defies all definition For Roberto Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony is such a book It could be called a treatise on Greek mythology; a creative retelling of the Greek myths; and I think it has also been pigeonholed as a novel It is all of these and it is none of these Whatever you call these approximately four hundred densely packed pages of amazing prose you can be sure of one thing it is sometimes translucent and uplifting sometimes opaue and frustrating but always always it is irresistibly enchanting like the Greek myths themselvesCalasso has taken on the Herculean task of trying to capture the essence of the whole of the Greek civilisation including its culture its language its philosophy and its history in a rambling tour across time and space In this he has thrown his road maps to the winds Calasso jumps from myth to myth with a suddenness resembling jump cuts in an avant garde movie while he talks about mythology linguistics local customs and philosophy often in the same breath It is as though Joseph Campbell is talking to you using the techniues of William FaulknerTo be truthful this is not a book for the newbie Unless you are up to date on your mythology you are going to be confused a person like me who is relatively well read in the Greek myths was lost many a time However if you are a myth junkie this book will pull you in and hold you spellbound though even then it won't be smooth sailing all the wayThe uniue thing about the Greek Pantheon is that the Gods are all very near to mankind They are just superior beings that is all There is absolutely no morality the stories are full of rape incest sodomy ritual mutilation dismemberment and even necrophilia Zeus the supreme god himself is the chief abductor and rapist Throughout the book the author stresses these themes as they are repeated across the tales time and again; breaking and melding splitting and reforming as one story becomes many and many become oneNo sooner have you grabbed hold of it than myth opens out into a fan of thousand segments Here the variant is the origin Everything that 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 invisible shadow in our minds All the favourite gods are here the intellectual Apollo and the passionate Dionysus; Athena the eternal virgin and Aphrodite lust personified; Artemis Demeter Persephone Hades all ruled over by Zeus and Hera So also are the heroes who by slaying monsters assimilate them; Heracles Theseus Perseus Achilles and the wily Odysseus They play out their eternal drama in the heavens as well as on the earth in the form of rituals Because in Greece the gods are always nearbyBut when something undefined and powerful shakes mind and fiber and trembles the cage of our bones when the person who only a moment before was dull and agnostic is suddenly rocked by laughter and homicidal frenzy or by the pangs of love or by the hallucination of form or finds his face streaming with tears then the Greek realizes that he is not alone Somebody else stands beside him and that somebody is a god He no longer has the calm clarity of perception he had in his mediocre state of existence Instead that clarity has migrated into his divine companion A sharp profile against the sky the god is resplendent while the person who evoked him is left confused and overwhelmed The book begins with Europa being carried off by Zeus in the form of bull; in the last chapter we find her brother Cadmus in search of her Instead he ends up saving Zeus from the monster Typhon a leftover from the earth religions before the gods of Mount Olympus took over by the use of music to distract the monster As a reward Zeus promises him Harmony the love child of Aphrodite and Ares as wife However he is unable to recover Europa and thus unable to return home as that was the condition he left his country So Cadmus founds his own city on ThebesWhy is Cadmus important Because according to legend it was he who brought the alphabet to Greece And Harmony's name itself symbolises what she stands for Therefore even when Cadmus moves out of his country with his wife a defeated man he can be gratified about a life well spentCadmus had brought Greece gifts of the mind vowels and consonants yoked together in tiny signs etched model of a silence that speaks the alphabet With the alphabet the Greeks would teach themselves to experience the gods in the silence of the mind and no longer in the full and normal presence as Cadmus himself had the day of his marriage He thought of his routed kingdom of daughters and grandchildren torn to pieces tearing others to pieces ulcerated in boiling water run through with spits drowned in the sea And Thebes was a heap of rubble But no one could erase those small letters those fly's feet that Cadmus the Phoenician had scattered across Greece where the winds had brought him in his uest for Europa carried off by a bull that rose from the sea

Roberto Calasso ê 9 CHARACTERS

Este libro inaugura uno de los ciclos literarios más originales e intensos de los desarrollados entre finales del siglo XX y lo ue va del XXI la obra inclasificable de Roberto Calasso Y no gira en torno a la imaginación o la inventiva de un escritor ue construye un mundo propio gira en cambio en torno del origen de nuestra cultura la mitología de la Grecia antigua densa en relatos apasionantes de la ue todos. 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 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 reading works of archeology history philosophy and anything else pertaining to the world which Homer invented and which the Romans captured embalmed and imitated for the next thousand or so yearsThe Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony which I started as an afterthought suddenly appears as the centerpiece of my reading so far Calasso sees this strange world bathed in Olympian light in which the gods and men had freuent intercourse on every level as something uniue even privilegedIt was precisely because the Greeks had reduced the difference between gods and men to a minimum that they measured the distance still separating them with such cruel precision an infinite unbridgeable distance And never has that distance been so sharply defined as by the Greeks themselves No mist hovered about the approaches to death It was an abyss with razor edges never crossed Hence the Greeks were well aware of the powerlessness of their sacrifices Every ceremony in which a living being was killed was a way of recalling the mortality of all the participants And the smoke they dedicated to the gods was certainly no use to the divinities as food The only things the gods ever ate were nectar and ambrosia No that smell of blood and smoke was a message from earth a pointless gift reminding the Olympians of the consciously precarious existence of all those distant inhabitants of earth who in every other way were eual to the gods And what the gods loved about men was precisely this difference this precariousness which they themselves could relish only through men It was a flavor they could never get from ambrosia or nectar That was why they would sometimes abandon themselves to inhaling the smoke of sacrifice breath of that other life which enjoyed the precious privilege of stirring the air of OlympusMost of the book is a retelling of the Greek myths through the canny penetrating eyes of the author who demonstrates its power while himself awing us the readers This is a great book which I hope to read again I only wish the publishers had seen fit to provide a detailed index—because this book is a keeper