The Forty nine Steps

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In books lauded as brilliant, exhilarating, and profound, Roberto Calasso has revealed the unexpected intersections of ancient and modern through topics ranging from Greek and Indian mythology to what a legendary African kingdom can tell us about the French Revolution. In this first translation of his most important essays, Calasso brings his intellect and elegant prose style to bear on the essential thinkers of our time, providing a sweeping analysis of the current state of Western culture. Forty-nine steps refers to the Talmudic doctrine that there are forty-nine steps to meaning in every passage of the Torah. Employing this interpretive approach, Calasso offers a secret history of European literature and philosophy in the wake of Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud. Calasso analyzes how figures ranging from Gustav Flaubert, Gottfried Benn, Karl Kraus, Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, and Theodor Adorno has contributed to, or been emblematic of, the current state of Western thought. This book's theme, writ large, is the power of fable - specifically, its persistence in art and literature despite its exclusion from orthodox philosophy.
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  Roberto Calasso Author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony THE FORTY- NINE # STEPS Translated by John Shepley  n books lauded asbrilliant, exhilarating, and profound, Roberto Calasso has revealed the unexpected intersections ol ancient and mod- ern through topics ranging from Greek and Indian mythology to what a legendary African kingdom can tell us about the French Revolution. In this first translation of his most important essays, Calasso brings his powerful intellect and elegant prose style to bear on the essential thinkers of our time,pro- viding a sweeping analysis of the current state of Western culture. “Fortv-nine steps” refers to the Talmudic doctrine that there are forty-nine steps to meaning in every passageof the Torah. Employing this interpretive approach, Calasso offers a “secret history of European literature and philosophy in the wake ofNietzsche, Marx, and Freud. Calasso analyzes how figures ranging from Gustav Flaubert, Gottfried Benn, Karl Kraus, Martin Fleidegger, Walter Ben- jamin, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, and Theodor Adorno have contributed to, or been emblematic of, the current state ofWestern thought. This book’s theme, writ large, is the power of fable — specifi- cally, its persistence in art and literature despite its exclusion from orthodox philosophy. In its breadth and the nature of its concerns, The Forty-nine Steps is a philosophical and literary twin to the widely praised Marriage of Cadmus andHarmony. Combining erudition withengaging prose and srcinal insights, Calassocontributes a daring new interpretation of some of the most challenging writersof the past 1 50 years.  ' - ã S' : . . \ . ,
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