Tourists, terrorists, secularists, hackers, fundamentalists, transhumanists, algorithmicians: in this book Roberto Calasso considers the tribes that inhabit and inform the world today. A world that feels more elusive than ever before.
This book, the ninth part of a work in progress, is a meditation on the obscure and ubiquitous process of transformation happening in societies today, where distant echoes of Auden's The Age of Anxiety give way to something altogether more unsettling.
Surprising, illuminating . . . one of the many pleasures of reading Calasso is to follow the bumper-car ride of his thinking, as he caroms off this and that totemic figure dotted about the intellectual fairground
The ninth in Mr. Calasso's kaleidoscopic series of investigations into the spiritual biography of the secular West . . . the two long essays in The Unnamable Present examine the effects of novel and often dangerous mythologies-democracy, nationalism, Darwinism, race theory- in 20th-century Europe . . . he handles the events of the past with the reverence of a priest, rather than the dispassion of a historian. Material facts are the tangible aspect of hidden truths
A public intellectual in the great European tradition, whose new book attempts to define the era we're currently living through
Calasso's erudition is dazzling . . . his assertions come in short, verbless sentences, darting from historical moment to historical moment, alighting on a person, a place, a topic, before moving briskly on
This slim but wide-ranging philosophical inquiry extends the Italian author's series on the roots of modernity, with particular attention to moral relativism
Encyclopedic, erudite . . . rather than exploring ideas, his books invoke spirits-of places, cultural periods, personalities
Be ready to be seduced by his breadth of reference and power of persuasion
Calasso has no equal in the sparkle of his storytelling and the depth of his learning