Is Ardor by Roberto Calasso merely incondite or is it resolute mystagoguery. The book is a series of essays of varying lengths on esoteric topics such as yajna and tapas. In the normal way, like Alice, you start at the beginning and go on to the end and then stop. Fundamental concepts are unfolded on the basis of which more complex elaborations ensue. Calasso starts in the middle goes on to the beginning and then stops. This has the mien of elaborate befuddlement. The last essay which purports to be a codicil is entitled Antecedants and Consequents and this last should be first and as to where the first , Remote Beings, should be is a matter of conjecture. The advantage to the jumbling of the order of development is that the later simpler exegesis becomes masterly exposition.
After skipping to this ‘epilog’ I am working my way through the book abiding by its sequence. One third to go yet so I will delay an examination of particular omissions
and elision and yes 'overrated’ hangs as inconspicuous as a Graf Zeppelin. For the moment consider him tethered to the post and smudged.