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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Art of the Publisher

The Art of the Publisher

Roberto Calasso; Translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


An interior look at Roberto Calasso's work as a publisher and his reflections on the art of book publishing

In this illuminating volume, Roberto Calasso reflects on more than half a century of distinguished literary publishing at Adelphi Edizioni in Milan. "Part merchant, part circus impresario, the publisher has always been considered with a certain mistrust, like a clever huckster," Calasso writes, and yet "publisher" may also be one of the most prestigious titles around.

Recalling the beginnings of Adelphi in the 1960s, Calasso touches on the house's defining qualities and its strategy of publishing a wide range of authors of high literary quality. Stepping back, he then considers the publishing industry as a whole, bringing his signature erudition and grasp of literary history to bear on various aspects of the enterprise. From the vital importance of jackets, design, and cover flaps to the consequences of universal digitization, Calasso offers a penetrating study of the industry and an essential survey of twentieth-century literature.

A daring defense of an industry in flux and an ode to publishers who devote themselves to "good books," The Art of the Publisher makes an insider’s case for publishing as a singular artistic form. An essential collection for writers, readers, and editors, it is a tribute to the age-old art of making books.


I’d like to address something that is generally taken for granted, but turns out not to be so obvious: the art of publishing books. And first of all I would like to consider the notion of publishing...

Praise for The Art of the Publisher

“[Calasso is] a literary institution.” —The Paris Review on Roberto Calasso

“Calasso is not only immensely learned; he is one of the most original thinkers and writers we have today.” —Charles Simic on Roberto Calasso

“[Calasso] brings learning and passion to this chronicle of the business of getting books into the hands of readers . . . A treat for book lovers.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

Roberto Calasso; Translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon

Roberto Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni in Milan and the author of a work in progress, all of whose parts deal with highly diverse materials yet are closely interconnected, and which up to now comprises The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, K., Tiepolo Pink, La Folie Baudelaire, and Ardor. He has also written various other books, among which are The Forty-nine Steps and Literature and the Gods.

Richard Dixon lives and works in Italy. His translations from the Italian include Ardor by Roberto Calasso andThe Prague Cemetery and Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. He is one of the translators of FSG’s edition of Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone.

image of Roberto Calassoo
Giorgio Magister

Roberto Calasso

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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