"We were peering into this darkness, criss-crossed with voices, when the change took place: the only real, great change I've ever happened to witness, and compared to it the rest is nothing." -- from The Complete Cosmicomics Italo Calvino's beloved cosmicomics cross planets and traverse galaxies, speed up time or slow it down to the particles of an instant. Through the eyes of an ageless guide named Qfwfq, Calvino explores natural phenomena and tells the story of the origins of the universe. Poignant, fantastical, and wise, these thirty-four dazzling stories -- collected here in one definitive anthology -- relate complex scientific and mathematical concepts to our everyday world. They are an indelible (and unfailingly delightful) literary achievement. "Nimble and often hilarious . . . Trying to describe such a diverse and entertaining mix, I have to admit, just as Calvino does so often, that my words fail here, too. There's no way I -- or anyone, really -- can muster enough of them to quite capture the magic of these stories . . . Read this book, please." -- Colin Dwyer, NPR
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.
Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. Calvino 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 in1985, of a brain hemorrhage.
In five elegant autobiographical meditations Calvino delves into his past, remembering awkward childhood walks with his father, a lifelong obsession with the cinema and fighting in the Italian Resistance against the Fascists. He also muses on the social contracts, language and sensations associated with emptying the kitchen rubbish and the shape he would, if asked, consider the world. These reflections on the nature of memory itself are engaging, witty, and lit through with Calvino's alchemical brilliance.
Italo Calvino was due to deliver the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard in 1985-86, but they were left unfinished at his death. The surviving drafts explore of the concepts of Lightness, Quickness, Multiplicity, Exactitude and Visibility (Constancy was to be the sixth) in serious yet playful essays that reveal Calvino's debt to the comic strip and the folktale. With his customary imagination and grace, he sought to define the virtues of the great literature of the past in order to shape the values of the future. This collection is a brilliant précis of the work of a great writer whose legacy will endure through the millennium he addressed.
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