My first thought when they told me that Roberto Calasso was dead was for me. For me, who always thought “I have to introduce it”, and then I did nothing to make it happen, and not out of shyness or sobriety or fear of finding it unpleasant (it is essential that cultural reference points, if reduced to human beings, are very unpleasant: this allows you to confirm the belief that you should never meet your posters, and not to miss them too much if they were to reveal themselves not immortal).
I did not do it for the same reason that I have never been to a Lucio Dalla concert: the landscape never dies, you never think it will die, the porticoes of Bologna will always be there, they were a world heritage site long before they were, it’s not that if you miss an opportunity then you don’t get to see them again.
It was no later than a week ago, I was talking to a friend of the world that ends, the world we knew, and at a certain point I said “think if Calasso died, that would be the tragedy that would archive the twentieth century, fortunately that Calasso is immortal », and instead nothing, Dalla is dead, Calasso is dead, thank goodness it’s a rainy summer and the arcades are essential to avoid getting wet.
It was Wednesday afternoon, at my house there were friends who were shaking their heads at the absurdity of the undertaking in which I had gone to waste, get rid of books, objects, everything, become not Marie Kondo but at least one who she does not have to buy everything back seventeen times because she never finds what she needs, and sixteen of those seventeen make the objects difficult to find with new layers of troutium. A friend looked at the coolest part of my library and said: We keep the Adelphi on trust.
It was about twenty years ago, for a small newspaper I wrote long spatafata of my cocks (yes, even more mine than those here, yes, even longer than those here), and at one point I wrote a line about the fact that I bought Adelphi because they furnished very well, and in the following days I received a huge package with a note from Calasso, “they furnish very well”, I can’t even instagramm it because I was so young that I didn’t know that one day nostalgia would no longer be that of a time and I have not kept it.
It was a month ago, I was reading Matteo Codignola’s book on life in Adelphi and beyond, and at one point he talks about a French writer who is impatient because his Italian publisher wants to put it in a minor series, and in the end they take it. , and he does not say it but the writer was Carrère, and I thought that perhaps that was the synthesis of what a publisher was, and of the fact that in Italy the only publisher was Adelphi: one the public trusts so so much so that he became the star that Einaudi had not been able to create despite having the most irresistible Carrère in the catalog, that of the Adversary. (Happy the happy would have been what it is, the greatest novel of this century, if Adelphi hadn’t made it irresistible? Yasmina Reza was already her with Arte: perhaps Einaudi has a problem with the eateners, perhaps like Adelphi there is no is none, like Adelphi in wisteria).
It was the third year of high school, the one in which I failed and also the one in which I realized that the things they taught you in school by making you yawn could be explained in a way that would make you enchanted: I would not trade for anything in the world of luck. having been sixteen when The Wedding of Cadmus and Harmony came out.
It was the spring of seventh grade when I began writing a book on adultery that I would publish almost thirty years later. In the reflective middle shelf where my mother kept socially presentable readings, between A Man and Fragments of a Love Speech, came what I did not know was the first title of a new Adelphi series, I did not know to be an author whom I would then love to life, I did not know how to be the azurradelphi that would become the furnishing base of my adult life. I only knew that in that Kundera it was written: Franz rode Sabina and betrayed his wife, Sabina rode Franz and betrayed Franz.
He was at some point in middle school, and Calasso had Nietzsche read by the little girls who would have mentioned him at random all their lives; they were the same years in which Hermann Hesse used to soak us, and there has never been a bigger scam and cheated more happy to be such, never with the sole exception of the seasons in which Miuccia Prada makes pointy shoes; it was twenty years later when Martina Stella tried in vain to give to Stefano Accorsi, a reluctant adult, Siddhartha (to whom in editions of this century they added a hint, so that the fools of the last century could distinguish themselves from their heirs of this century, equally happy cheated, but with an extra bit).
My second thought, when they told me that Calasso was dead, was for an English novel of which I don’t remember anything except that the narrator said that you must always have all the records to avoid that Bowie dies and you are in. queues with the upstart who buy Ziggy Stardust for the first time. My second thought was: I had to hurry up to buy Bobi, now I will look like a provincial, with all I spent to furnish Adelphi.