The Celestial Hunter

The Celestial Hunter

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Overview

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"[Calasso's] flow of associations leaves you feeling not out of your depth, but smarter and better read." —The New York Times Book Review


The eighth part of Roberto Calasso’s monumental series on the primal forces of civilization

The eighth part of Roberto Calasso’s singular work in progress that began in 1983 with The Ruin of Kasch, The Celestial Hunter is an inspired and provocative exploration of mankind’s relationship with myth, the divine, and the idea of transformation.

There was a time, even before prehistory, when man was simply a defenseless animal. The gods he worshiped took the form of other beasts or were the patterns of the stars he saw above him each night in the sky, which he transformed into figures and around which he created stories. Soon, however, man learned to imitate the animals that attacked him and he became a hunter. This transformation, Calasso posits, from defenseless victim to hunter was a key moment, the first step on man’s ascendance to power. Suddenly the notion of the hunter became fundamental. It would be developed over thousands of years through the figures that became central to Greek mythology, including the constellations. Among them was Orion, the celestial hunter, and his dog, Sirius.

Vivid and strikingly original, and expertly translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon, The Celestial Hunter traces how man created the divine myths that would become the cornerstones of Western civilization. As Calasso demonstrates, the repercussions of these ideas would echo through history, from Paleolithic to modern times. And they would be the product of one thing: the human mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374120061
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/28/2020
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 139,847
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Roberto Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni in Milan and the author of many books. The Celestial Hunter is part of his work in progress that includes The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, K.,Tiepolo Pink, La Folie Baudelaire, Ardor, and The Unnamable Present. He has also written Literature and the Gods, The Forty-nine Steps, and The Art of the Publisher, and is the editor of The Zürau Aphorisms by Franz Kafka.

Table of Contents

I In the Time of the Great Raven 1

II The Mistress of the Animals 29

III The Gold-Tipped Javelin 55

IV The Brief Age of Heroes 73

V Sages and Predators 95

VI Zeus's Last Night on Earth 157

VII Spuma Fui 171

VIII Nocturnal Council 201

IX The Night of the Hermocopids 241

X The Contemplator 253

XI Statues 293

XII O Egypt, Egypt … 311

XIII The Divine Before the Gods 335

XIV Return to Eleusis 359

Sources 397

Index 437

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