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Six Memos for the Next Millennium, by Italo Calvino

Six Memos for the Next Millennium, by Italo Calvino

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“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 lightnessquicknessexactitudevisibility, 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.

From the Back Cover

The fate of literature and the book in the so-called postindustrial age is being questioned . . . My faith in the future of literature rests on the knowledge that there are things that only literature, with its particular capacities, can give us. from Six Memos for the Next Millennium

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. Six Memos for the Next Millennium is Calvino s testament, containing the five lectures he completed. Now in a new translation by poet Geoffrey Brock, these memos form a stirring defense of literature and an indispensable guide to Calvino s own writings. He devotes one lecture 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.

Italo Calvino(1923 1985) attained worldwide renown as one of the twentieth centurys greatest storytellers. Born in Cuba, he was raised in San Remo, Italy, and later lived in Turin, Paris, Rome, and elsewhere. Among his many works are Invisible Cities, If on a winter s night a traveler, The Baron in the Trees, and other novels, as well as numerous collections of fiction, folktales, criticism, and essays. His works have been translated into dozens of languages.

Geoffrey Brock is an award-winning translator and poet whose translations include works of Umberto Eco, Cesare Pavese, and others.