Roberto Calasso via

Aby Warburg, lecturing at Hamburg University in the winter of 1927, concluded his reflections on the Nachleben der Antike, the “afterlife of Antiquity,” by comparing two “types of ancient prophet,” Burckhardt and Nietzsche. Both, Warburg said, had been “receivers of mnemonic waves.” Their receptivity to other times and places had resembled that of “sensitive seismographs, which shake in their foundations when they have to receive and transmit the waves.”

There had been,...

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