Roberto Calasso’s retelling of the Hebrew Bible is both exasperating and beguiling

The Italian writer Roberto Calasso, who died in July at the age of 80, was an anomalous and fascinating figure on the international literary scene. In his early twenties he began working for the prestigious publishers Adelfi Edizioni and stayed with them his whole life, eventually becoming editorial director and, when the firm was threatened with a takeover, purchasing it. In his thirties he began writing a series of idiosyncratic books. The second of these, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, established his reputation and was translated into many languages. Something should be said about it because the project it enacts is related to this last of his books. The