The Secret Euphoria of Reading

‘The blurbs state their presence as echo chambers in which the absent books resound with murmurs, with questions such as: what builds a library? What connects disparate works and words? What do books transmit onto our selves? And further on, detours into what is commonly deemed irrelevant, marginal, minor — until I’m no longer sure who generates what, what is written before and what after, what is read into writing and written out of reading, and notions of origin are buried beneath layers of rewritings.’

For a long time I’d thought of writing something around a book (in Italian, no English translation) that collects Roberto Calasso’s book blurbs for the legendary Italian publishing house Adelphi, echoing in turn what those blurbs and those books had meant to me years ago, before I even knew I’d be a writer.

‘Woven across the fabric of Calasso’s blurbs is a thread of marginal figures, writers in spite of themselves. These people wrote yet would not call themselves writers. They were recluse, enclosed, outsiders locked in, disrupting any notions of a unified and coherent writing subject.’

As part of my ongoing work on frames, margins, edges, The Secret Euphoria of Reading is now published on 3:AM Magazine, thanks to Tristan Foster’s support and accurate editorial input. You can read the piece here.

‘Adelphi’s main series ‘Biblioteca’ began with Alfred Kubin’s The Other Side. Calasso’s collection of blurbs begins with Samuel Butler’s Erewhon: a scrambled nowhere, a scrambled other side, a book first published anonymously, the perfect start for this collection of texts written around the eventful and sensuous nowhere of reading.’

The Secret Euphoria of Reading: on Roberto Calasso’s Cento lettere a uno sconosciuto

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