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  • Published: 4 January 2016
  • ISBN: 9781846145070
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $27.99

Ardor



This is the ardor of the Vedic world, a burning intensity that is always present, both in the mind and in the cosmos. With his signature erudition and profound sense of the past, Calasso explores the enigmatic web of ritual and myth that define the Vedas. Often at odds with modern thought, he shows how these texts illuminate the nature of consciousness more than neuroscientists have been able to offer us up to now.

In this revelatory volume, Roberto Calasso, whom the Paris Review has called 'a literary institution', explores the ancient texts known as the Vedas. Little is known about the Vedic people who lived more than three thousand years ago in northern India: they left behind almost no objects, images, ruins. Only a 'Parthenon of words' remains: verses and formulations suggesting a daring understanding of life. 

'If the Vedic people had been asked why they did not build cities,' writes Calasso, 'they could have replied: we did not seek power, but rapture.' This is the ardor of the Vedic world, a burning intensity that is always present, both in the mind and in the cosmos. With his signature erudition and profound sense of the past, Calasso explores the enigmatic web of ritual and myth that define the Vedas. Often at odds with modern thought, he shows how these texts illuminate the nature of consciousness more than neuroscientists have been able to offer us up to now.

Like 'scattered fragments of a dream', the ancient Vedic people of India left nothing behind except words. Roberto Calasso explores the enigmatic texts known as the Vedas, showing how their burning, rapturous intensity illuminates the nature of our lives and consciousness more than anything else has ever done.  

'A writer about the foundational myths and tales of human society who has no equal.' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Lucid and elegant . . . genuine intellectual cosmopolitanism.' Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times

'A literary institution.' Lila Azam Zanganeh, Paris Review

'A master of imaginative sympathy.' Andrew Motion

  • Published: 4 January 2016
  • ISBN: 9781846145070
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $27.99

About the author

Roberto Calasso

Born in Florence, Roberto Calasso lives in Milan, where he is publisher of Adelphi. He is the author of The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, which was the winner of the Prix Veillon and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, Literature and the Gods, Ka and K.

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