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Lectures on Literatureby Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
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
A posthumously published collection of thirty-six essays offering Italo Calvino's invigorating and illuminating analysis of his most treasured literary classics.
A collection of essays offering an extraordinary global view of Calvino's approach to writing, reading, and interpreting literature.
A collection of five lectures Italo Calvino was preparing to deliver at the time of his death, setting forth the qualities in writing he most valued, and which he believed would define literature in the century to come. Together, these "memos" form a stirring defense of literature and an indispensable guide to Calvino's own work.
“One of the most rigorously presented and beautifully illustrated critical testaments in all of literature.”—Boston Globe
“A brilliant, original approach to literature, a key to Calvino’s own work and a thoroughly delightful and illuminating commentary on some of the world’s greatest writing.”—San Francisco Chronicle
At the time of his death, Italo Calvino was at work on six lectures setting forth the qualities in writing he most valued, and which he believed would define literature in the century to come. Here, in Six Memos for the Next Millennium, are the five lectures he completed, forming not only a stirring defense of literature, but also an indispensable guide to the writings of Calvino himself. He devotes one “memo” each to the concepts of lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity, drawing examples from his vast knowledge of myth, folklore, and works both ancient and modern. Readers will be astonished by the prescience of these lectures, which have only gained in relevance as Calvino’s “next millennium” has dawned.
“Reading Calvino, you’re constantly assailed by the notion that he is writing down what you have always known, except that you’ve never thought of it before. This is highly unnerving: fortunately, you’re usually too busy laughing to go mad.” — Salman Rushdie, London Review of Books
Reading, writing, translating; the avant-garde and tradition; the fate of the novel: these are some of the themes of The Written World and the Unwritten World. A collection of essays, forewords, articles, interviews, notes, and other occasional pieces, this work displays Calvino’s remarkable intelligence and razor-sharp wit as he explores the meaning of literature in a rapidly changing world. Drawn from Mondo scritto e mondo non scritto (2002), Sulla fiaba (1988), and uncollected essays, this volume of previously untranslated work — now rendered in English by Ann Goldstein — is a major statement in literary criticism.
About the Author
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Russian-born poet, novelist, literary critic, translator, and essayist was awarded the National Medal for Literature for his life's work in 1973. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. He is the author of many works including Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and Speak, Memory.
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