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Why read the classics?

Author: Italo Calvino
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 2000. ©1999
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First Vintage Books editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
Why read the classics? Not out of a sense of duty or respect, argues Italo Calvino. Rather, we should only read them for love. Thus these thirty-six essays on literature--most of them never gathered in book form before--cover Calvino's own favorites, his personal classics. This is not the arid and arcane criticism of academia but rather the vibrant and accessible thought of one of this century's most breathtakingly  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Italo Calvino
ISBN: 0679743499 9780679743491
OCLC Number: 47170584
Description: x, 277 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: Why read the classics? --
The odysseys within The odyssey --
Xenophon's Anabasis --
Ovid and universal contiguity --
The sky, man, the elephant --
Nezami's seven princesses --
Tirant lo blanc --
The structure of the Orlando furioso --
Brief anthology of octaves from Ariosto --
Gerolamo Cardano --
The book of nature in Galileo --
Cyrano on the moon --
Robinson Crusoe, journal of mercantile virtues --
Candide, or concerning narrative rapidity --
Denis Diderot, Jacques le fataliste --
Giammaria Ortes --
Knowledge as dust-cloud in Stendhal --
Guide for new readers of Stendhal's Charterhouse --
The city as novel in Balzac --
Charles Dickens, Our mutual friend --
Gustave Flaubert, Trois contes --
Leo Tolstoy, Two hussars --
Mark Twain, The man that corrupted Hadleyburg --
Henry James, Daisy Miller --
Robert Louis Stevenson, The pavilion on the links --
Conrad's captains --
Pasternak and the revolution --
The world is an artichoke --
Carlo Emilio Gadda, the Pasticciaccio --
Eugenio Montale, 'Forse un mattino andando' --
Montale's Cliff --
Hemingway and ourselves --
Francis Ponge --
Jorge Luis Borges --
The philosophy of Raymond Queneau --
Pavese and human sacrifice.
Other Titles: Perché leggere i classici.
Responsibility: Italo Calvino ; translated from the Italian by Martin McLaughlin.

Abstract:

Why read the classics? Not out of a sense of duty or respect, argues Italo Calvino. Rather, we should only read them for love. Thus these thirty-six essays on literature--most of them never gathered in book form before--cover Calvino's own favorites, his personal classics. This is not the arid and arcane criticism of academia but rather the vibrant and accessible thought of one of this century's most breathtakingly innovative writers. Whether he's discussing how many odysseys are in The Odyssey, or the way Dicken's later novels foreshadow Beckett, he's always acutely insightful. Whether he's contemplating the censorship of Twain's books by Twain's own wife, or Pliny's belief that the elephant is the mammal spiritually closest to man, he's always freshly entertaining. And whether he's portraying Cyrano de Bergerac's work as the forerunner of science fiction, or the character of Lara as the true center of Dr. Zhivago, he's always dauntingly smart and original. From the Persian folk tale writer Nezami to Henry James, from Ariosto to Hemingway to Montale, Calvino's subjects are remarkably wide-ranging, and the delightful erudition and infectious enthusiasm of his essays prove that the world's most fascinating writers also tend to be the world's most fascinating readers. -- Back cover.

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