Why Read the Classics?

Why Read the Classics?

Product ID: 13920

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Author: Italo Calvino
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2000
Language: English
Pages: 278
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0099284898


In this collection of thirty-six essays on his classics, Italo Calvino explores several original definitions of what makes a classic, and surveys works that range in time from antiquity and early modern Europe, to the masters of the nineteenth-century novel and his early American mentors, through to his contemporaries.

Why Read the Classics? Constitutes Calvino's literary canon and sheds fascinating light on the key texts that influenced this major twentieth-century novelist, confirming his position too as one of the most interesting essayists and critics of his time.


This volume is itself a classic book at bedtime, a seductive invitation to forgotten opportunities of rereading.
-The Times

Fascinating, 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

A primer of the highest quality of 31 classic writers, blissfully free of academic jargon and journalistic glibness, and its erudition is matched by a real, if becomingly unflaunted passion for literature.
-Evening Standard

For all his serious considerations of the literature we call classic, of all his deep insights, Calvino is a writer whom we can read just for the fun brilliant.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is puzzled over the distinction between a work of literature and a plausible fake, Calvino shows by example that the classics matter.
-The Times

A great collection, posthumously put together and admirably translated For admirers of Calvino, the collection is valuable for the light it throws on his influences, one of the most inspiring, and least cliché-ridden justifications of great literature I've ever come upon.
-Sunday Telegraph

An ideal mixture of imaginative insight, intelligent sympathy and conveyed joy, The breadth of Calvino's enthusiasms is staggering, freshly and fluently translated, this work is a treasury of arresting, provocative comparisons and judgments.


Translator's Introduction


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 Octraves 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

Publisher's Note