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The Unnamable Present

The Unnamable Present


The strikingly original ninth book in Roberto Calasso's monumental exploration of civilizationThe ninth part of Roberto Calasso's monumental work in progress, The Unnamable Present, resonates deeply with the first book, The Ruin of Kasch (originally published in 1983, and recently reissued by FSG in a new translation). But while Kasch is an iconoclastic exploration of modern civilization, The Unnamable Present propels us into the twentieth century. Tourists, terrorists, secularists, hackers, fundamentalists, humanists these are all tribes that inhabit and stir up the unnamable present. But for most everyone else, this is a world that is more elusive than ever before, one that "has no style of its own and uses every style," one that is impossible to grasp in its entirety. This is a world that seems to have no definition or past, but is suddenly illuminated when from behind it the silhouette of history emerges especially of that period between 1933 and 1945, when the world itself was bent on self-annihilation. W. H. Auden gave the title The Age of Anxiety to a long poem set toward the end of the war. Today those voices sound more remote, as if they came from another realm. And though the anxiety hasn t diminished, it no longer predominates. What predominates is something inchoate and occasionally lethal. The Unnamable Present a globe-spanning meditation on how previously recognizable institutions of societal control, terror, history, religion, language, and government have scattered and reformed to create a reality that takes its shape from shapelessness itself. Translated with sensitivity by Calasso's longtime translator, Richard Dixon, The Unnamable Present is a strikingly original and provocative triumph from the writer The Paris Review called a literary institution of one.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
  • ISBN-13: 9780374279479
  • ISBN: 0374279470
  • Publication Year: 2019
HPB pick - Available on April 09, 2019
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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