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Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 28 May 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Later Edition edition (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118969X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189697
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

Patrick Creagh won the John Florio Prize in 1972 for his translation of the Selected Poems of Giuseppe Ungaretti, and again in 1990 for Danube by Claudio Magris and Blind Argus by Gesualdo Bufalino.

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 century s 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. " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Calvino offers us a bag of jewels with these five essays on the principle qualities that will carry great writing into the next century. The lessons learned from "Lightness," "Quickness," "Exactitude," "Visibility," and "Multiplicity" can be applied in any creative situation. They add strength to my own compositional efforts, but even more, the multi-faceted richness of Calvino's prose and Creagh's translation is something to savor and rejoice in. Even in his essays, Calvino is a storyteller, and as always his characters are the moods and motives of the people at large, as well as simply people themselves. Whether this is your first or fiftieth time reading this little book, the rush of inspiration that will sweep over you is not to be stemmed. Buy it, read it, write in it, draw lines and circle your favorite words and sentences. This is a book to imprint into your mind.
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Format: Paperback
It isn't often that you find a writer whose literature you enjoy and whose non-fiction writing is even more enjoyable. Calvino is one such writer for me. His Memos for the next millenium are his collection of musings on what makes great literature great and the skills that he aspired to holding as a writer, as well as those skills that he admired in other writers. For the student of literature and for would be writers everywhere this is an intelligent, witty, compelling and persuasive collection of lectures. Would be that all criticism were so balanced, informative and instructive as Calvino's.
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Format: Paperback
Calvino was of the last generation before the so-called 'information revolution', and the Six Memos came at the end of his life, just at the exact moment that the effects of this revolution were beginning to be felt. In this book he sets out an agenda for the importance of specific qualities of literature in the future. As we run around in circles in a society obsessed with globalism (the Internet and all its trappings, economics, and general short-termism) this agenda takes on a great deal of importance. This is not a 'fun read' as such, but if you believe in literature, then ignore this at your peril!
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Format: Paperback
Graduating from University was brilliant, because it gave me the chance to read all the books that had piled up over the last three years. This was actually a recommendation by my personal tutor in my first year as a means of improving my essay writing. I bought a copy (they didn't have any in the library free) read the relevant section, and then hung on to it. Six Memos is based on a series of lectures written by the Italian writer Italo Calvino, intended to be delivered at Harvard University. Unfortunately, Calvino died before leaving Italy, and before he finished composing final lecture (so there are, in fact, only five `memos'). The lectures focus on values which Calvino felt would be crucial for literature to survive, and thrive, in the 21st century. As such, the book provides valuable insights, and useful food for thought, for anyone who writer, be it in fiction, nonfiction, or academia. The memos are full of interesting tit bits and excerpts from other writers, many presented in their original Greek, Latin, Italian, French or Russian. Fortunately, translations are included, so you can look nice and intelligent while you skim through four of five different languages, then skip ahead to read the same passages in English. With topics including Lightness, Exactitude, and Visibility, this is an ideal text for experience writers looking to polish their craft. The book also serves as something of a road-sign, pointing to the work of some of the most experimental and skilled, if lesser-known, writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Actually reading the memos in the new Millennium is slightly disconcerting.
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Format: Paperback
Brilliant. A good experience. Of course it was written for our current millennium and not "the next". but who knows what will prevail next time around? Probably there will be no one around to read anything. Maybe there will be just enough folk left and just enough ragged copies for the the "six memos" to see them through. Reflective and inventive a book for any one who can read and cares for us in time and place will pore over. Read it and discover a masterpiece.
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Calvino never ceases to surprise and these 'memos', written more than twenty years ago, are testimony of his insight of the world and are never really dated. They are a kind of final balance of the end of the last millennium and a challenge for the new one we are currently struggling in. What are the things we should do for a morally, human, livable sustainable future? In order to really appreciate these lectures the reader should reacquaint with those writers, poets and thinkers whose works have fulfilled the very sense of reading and writing - Calvino cites at least 90 authors including Boccaccio, Dante, Valéry, Dickinson, Cervantes, Flaubert ... This book seems a challenge, it is in a sense, but it's directness gives it lighteness and it is very easy to follow. It is a must for readers and writers alike.
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