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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant meditation on Modernity
Calasso is one of the greatest modern writers, and his work defies all generic conventions: a fascinating blend of history, poetry, scholarship, and philosophy. The era of great artists and masterpieces has perhaps passed, but there is still room for a genius like Calasso to write this postmodern pastiche. This work is a profound meditation on modernity, which he...
Published on March 16, 2005 by Q

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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars calasso's book is a brilliant mess
Since I much admired Calasso's first book, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, I looked forward to reading this one. Unfortunately, it is a mess. Although full of interesting bits, the pieces fail to add up to a satisfying whole. The author is never able to define what he means by "modern" except to provide ever more anecdotes about Talleyrand. These are...
Published on August 17, 1997 by Gary Arms


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant meditation on Modernity, March 16, 2005
By 
Q (The Continuum) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ruin of Kasch (Paperback)
Calasso is one of the greatest modern writers, and his work defies all generic conventions: a fascinating blend of history, poetry, scholarship, and philosophy. The era of great artists and masterpieces has perhaps passed, but there is still room for a genius like Calasso to write this postmodern pastiche. This work is a profound meditation on modernity, which he considers as beginning with the French Revolution. He considers the history of the French Revolution and its aftermath, and especially the role of Tallyrand, whom Calasso find fascinating for many reasons. Beyond the French Revolution, however, Calasso ranges far and wide, from Max Stirner to Marx to Nietzsche to Dostoevsky to Melville and even back to Hindu mythology. The coherency of this book is at the level of poetry or an epic novel such as Moby Dick, not at the level of logical argument. Those looking for a tightly focused argument or linear history should go elsewhere; those capable of appreciating a poetic and philosophic historically-informed mediation on the problem of our identity as moderns will read and savor this unique performance.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars calasso's book is a brilliant mess, August 17, 1997
By 
Gary Arms (Dubuque, IA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ruin of Kasch (Hardcover)
Since I much admired Calasso's first book, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, I looked forward to reading this one. Unfortunately, it is a mess. Although full of interesting bits, the pieces fail to add up to a satisfying whole. The author is never able to define what he means by "modern" except to provide ever more anecdotes about Talleyrand. These are intriguing but unsatisfying. Calasso seems nostalgic for an old world when myths, customs, magic were taken seriously. But it is hard to be sure if even this nostalgia is the point of the book. Still one can't help but admire the wide ranging knowledge of this author and his sometimes eloquent writing
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fragmata and Obscurata, July 11, 2001
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Alvin C. Allen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ruin of Kasch (Paperback)
Very odd book. Full of nostalgia for the aristocracy of France, not unlike Nietzsche's nostalgia for the aristocracy of Rome and Greece. It is highly disjointed, indeed ofter incoherent relying upon dense references to obscure figures in the 18th Century. There is a thread of Rimbaud running through the text There are brilliant moments and insights, but no follow through or exposition. It is fragmata, obscurata, anecdotes, quotes from belles letres and diaries. Its central theme is musings on the loss of aristocratic legitimacy and the rise of the democratic mob. Worth reading if the French revolutionary period interests you and you are familiar with European culture of that period.
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, May 12, 2003
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ruin of Kasch (Hardcover)
After reading the wonderful book, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, I was expecting great things from The Ruin of Kasch. Unfortunately this disjointed, disorganized, collection of odds and ends never seems to pull together into any cohesive whole. The tid-bits about the life of Talleyrand were not substantial enough to maintain a narrative thread throughout the entire book. There wasn't enough cohesion around the Talleyrand sections to begin to say this was really commentary on this fascinating personality. Read The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony twice rather than read this book once.
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The Ruin of Kasch
The Ruin of Kasch by Roberto Calasso (Paperback - March 1, 1996)
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