Synopses & Reviews
A spectacular act of close reading and looking by a great writer
In La Folie Baudelaire, Roberto Calasso—one of the most original and acclaimed writers on literature, art, culture, and mythology—turns his attention to the poets and writers of Paris in the nineteenth century who created what was later called “the Modern.” His protagonist is Charles Baudelaire: poet of “nerves,” art lover, pioneering critic, man about Paris. Calasso ranges through Baudelaires life and work, focusing on two painters—Ingres and Delacroix—about whom Baudelaire wrote acutely, and then turns to Degas and Manet, who followed in the tracks Baudelaire laid down in his great essay “The Painter of Modern Life.” In Calassos lavishly illustrated mosaic of stories, insights, close readings of poems, and commentaries on paintings, Baudelaires Paris comes brilliantly to life.
In the eighteenth century, a folie was a garden pavilion set aside for people of leisure, a place of delight and fantasy. Following Baudelaire, Calasso has created a brilliant and dramatic “Folie Baudelaire”—a place where the reader can encounter the poet himself, his peers, his city, and his extraordinary likes and dislikes, finally discovering that that place is situated in the middle of the land of “absolute literature.”
About the Author
Roberto Calasso, the publisher of Adelphi in Milan, is the author of many books, among them The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, K., and Tiepolo Pink, all parts of a work in progress of which La Folie Baudelaire is the sixth panel. Alastair McEwen has translated almost ninety books of fiction and nonfiction and seven feature filmscripts, as well as radio-play adaptations, opera librettos, and many hundreds of articles for various magazines and newspapers. He has also translated some of Italys finest writers (Calasso, Eco, Tabucchi, and many others). He lives and works in Milan.