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Why Read the Classics? (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Italo Calvino , Martin McLaughlin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 May 2009 Penguin Modern Classics
Why Read the Classics? is an elegant defence of the value of great literature by one of the finest authors of the last century. Beginning with an essay on the attributes that define a classic (number one - classics are those books that people always say they are 'rereading', not 'reading'), this is an absorbing collection of Italo Calvino's witty and passionate criticism.

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Why Read the Classics? (Penguin Modern Classics) + Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Penguin Modern Classics) + If On A Winter's Night A Traveller (Vintage Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141189703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189703
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


'Enthusiasm and intelligence: these are the essential qualities of the critic. Calvino, himself a novelist of rare quality, possessed both generously. This is a book to read for itself, and also because it will send you back to other books to read, either again in a new way, or for the first time... Superb' Daily Telegraph 'This volume itself is a classic book at bedtime, a seductive invitation to forgotten opportunities or rereading' The Times

About the Author

Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. He was born in Cuba in 1923 and raised in San Remo, Italy; he fought for the Italian Resistance from 1943-45. His major works include Cosmicomics (1968), Invisible Cities (1972), and If on a winter's night a traveler (1979). He died in Siena in 1985.

Martin L. McLaughlin is Professor of Italian and Fiat-Serena Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Oxford where he is a Fellow of Magdalen College. In addition to his published academic works he is the English translator of Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino among many others.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On classics, a classic 7 Jun 2010
As always, Calvino's writing is elegant--witty on the surface and introspective below it. And rather than merely answering the self-imposed question, he gives us a luring introduction to books and authors we haven't read, and a nourishing encouragement to read anew those we have. Thus, his answer is intuitive and engrossing, lacking only in more non-Western examples.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential culture 6 Aug 2001
If you have read a bit of Calvino then you will know enough to trust the title. If you have ever been in a book shop and not known what book to buy, this should be your guide. If intelligence were rated on ones ability to perceive the same thing in different ways, then reading the classics (after reading this book) will provide that intelligence.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like dipping your toe in cool intellectual water. 16 July 1999
By A Customer
Beautifully produced and filled with Calvino's calm, yet amusing, insights into his selection of classics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Calvino all over again! 27 Jan 2013
By Donna A de Gonzalez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's Italo Calvino at his most intimate. Loved his interpretation and analysis of his personal classics, even if I don't totally agree with them all. I found a new interest in the works of Charles Dickens which I intend to thoroughly explore.
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow this guy believe it or not 17 Sep 2013
By Donald H. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Calvino is a marvelous intellectual and a fine tuned teacher: His reasoning is specific and makes it easier to model his role.
15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal antology 27 Feb 2001
By roberta matkovic - Published on Amazon.com
The answer to the question sophisticatedly raised by this little anthology, is given in the essay which opens the collection.The basic reason lies in forming a personal scale of values that help you individualize the real artistic elements in new works. The second one is that reading increases the quality of living in usual and unusual situations, as well. But the quality of school anthologies and their presentations is still an open problem.
24 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calvino get you inloved with literature!! 5 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
What makes a book a clasic? Borges once said in a conference, that the fact that a whole generation lives with the idea of a book makes it a classic, Calvino involve you in that idea..
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Anthology 21 Sep 2002
By Nicole - Published on Amazon.com
An inspirational collection from an excellent essayist. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in literature.
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