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Notes of Inspiration Writing/Reading

Notes of Inspiration 2: Six Memos for 21st Century Storytellers.

There are pages that stay with us and change the way we read everything else. This is what happened with Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium.

calvino_sixmemos

In this series of lectures Calvino puts together some values and qualities of literature to project into the next millennium, never doubting the potential of literature in making it through the ages.

My confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us, by means specific to it.

These are the memos, as we can look for and challenge them everyday in reading and writing.

  1. Lightness
  2. Quickness
  3. Exactitude
  4. Visibility
  5. Multiplicity 

Italo Calvino was invited to give a series of Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University in 1984. He worked hard on a scheme for his lectures, deciding for six main subjects, and completing, before his premature departure, five of them. Although Calvino never had the chance to deliver his lectures, Harvard University translated and published what was ready, making them available to generations of readers, critics and writers.

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Notes of Inspiration

Notes of Inspiration 1

All great storytellers have in common the freedom with which they move up and down the rungs of their experience as on a ladder. A ladder extending downward to the interior of the earth and disappearing into the clouds is the image for a collective experience to which even the deepest shock of every individual experience, death, constitutes no impediment or barrier.

Walter Benjamin from “The Storyteller” in Illuminations 1936