Six Memos for the Next Millennium
By Italo Calvino
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679742371, 144pp.)
Publication Date: August 31, 1993
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Six Memos for the Millennium is a collection of five lectures Italo Calvino was about to deliver at the time of his death. Here is his legacy to us: the universal values he pinpoints become the watchwords for our appreciation of Calvino himself.
What should be cherished in literature? Calvino devotes one lecture, or memo to the reader, to each of five indispensable qualities: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity. A sixth lecture, on consistency, was never committed to paper, and we are left only to ponder the possibilities. With this book, he gives us the most eloquent defense of literature written in the twentieth century—a fitting gift for the next millennium.
Italo Calvino (1923-1985) was born in Cuba, and grew up in San Remo, Italy. He was a member of the partisan movement during the German occupation of northern Italy in World War II. The novel that resulted from that experience, published in English as The Path to the Nest of Spiders, won widespread acclaim. His other works of fiction include the Baron in the Trees, The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Cosmicomics, Difficult Loves, If on a Winter's Night a Travelor, Invisible Cities, Marcovaldo, Mr. Palomar, The Nonexistent Knight & The Cloven Viscount, t zero, Under the Jaguar Sun, and The Watcher and Other Stories. His works of nonfiction include Six Memos for the Next Millennium and The Uses of Literature, collections of literary essays, and the anthology Italian Folktales.
"One of the most rigorously presented and beautifully illustrated critical testaments in all of literature." —Boston Globe
"Calvino's lectures [are] his shining literary testament.... [He] is as entrancing a theorist as he is a tale-teller." —Los Angeles Times Book Review
"No one has written so well about that gifted and nimble Italian genius Italo Calvino as has the master himself in these five highly personal meditations on the art of writing." —The New York Times Book Review