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Why Read the Classics?
Synopses & Reviews
“All that can be done is for each one of us to invent our own ideal library of our classics.” —from Why Read the Classics?
Classics, according to Italo Calvino, are not only works of enduring cultural value, but also something much more personal: talismans, touchstones, books through which we understand our world and ourselves. In Why Read the Classics?, Calvino shares over thirty of his classics in essays of warmth, humor, and striking insight. He ranges from Homer to Jorge Luis Borges, from the Persian folklorist Nezami to Charles Dickens. Whether tracing the links between Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s objectivity, discovering the origins of science fiction in the writings of Cyrano de Bergerac, or convincing us that the Italian novelist Carlo Emilio Gadda’s works are like artichokes, Calvino offers a new perspective on beloved favorites and introduces us to hidden gems.
“This book serves as a welcome reminder that the great works are great because they can mean so much to readers, and Calvino is a most knowledgeable guide to all the best destinations.” —San Francisco Chronicle
From the internationally acclaimed author of some of this century's most original fiction comes this posthumous collection of 36 literary essays that encourages readers to view old classics in a new light. Calvino writes on why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece "Dr. Zhivago", and explains how many odysseys are in "The Odyssey".
A posthumously published collection of thirty-six essays offering Italo Calvino's invigorating and illuminating analysis of his most treasured literary classics.
From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century's most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light.
Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunner of modern-day science-fiction writers. Learn how many odysseys The Odyssey contains, and why Hemingway's Nick Adams stories are a pinnacle of twentieth-century literature. From Ovid to Pavese, Xenophon to Dickens, Galileo to Gadda, Calvino covers the classics he has loved most with essays that are fresh, accessible, and wise. Why Read the Classics? firmly establishes Calvino among the rare likes of Nabokov, Borges, and Lawrence--writers whose criticism is as vibrant and unique as their groundbreaking fiction.
Italo Calvino was not only a prolific master of fiction, he was also an uncanny reader of literature, a keen critic of astonishing range. His posthumous collection of 39 literary essays illuminates the old classics, from Pasternak to Hemingway, in a dazzling new light.
About the Author
Italo Calvino died in 1985.
Translated from the Italian by Martin McLaughlin.
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