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Why Read the Classics?

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From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century's most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light. Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunn From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century's most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light. Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunner of modern-day science-fiction writers. Learn how many odysseys The Odyssey contains, and why Hemingway's Nick Adams stories are a pinnacle of twentieth-century literature. From Ovid to Pavese, Xenophon to Dickens, Galileo to Gadda, Calvino covers the classics he has loved most with essays that are fresh, accessible, and wise. Why Read the Classics? firmly establishes Calvino among the rare likes of Nabokov, Borges, and Lawrence--writers whose criticism is as vibrant and unique as their groundbreaking fiction.  


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From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century's most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light. Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunn From the internationally-acclaimed author of some of this century's most breathtakingly original novels comes this posthumous collection of thirty-six literary essays that will make any fortunate reader view the old classics in a dazzling new light. Learn why Lara, not Zhivago, is the center of Pasternak's masterpiece, Dr. Zhivago, and why Cyrano de Bergerac is the forerunner of modern-day science-fiction writers. Learn how many odysseys The Odyssey contains, and why Hemingway's Nick Adams stories are a pinnacle of twentieth-century literature. From Ovid to Pavese, Xenophon to Dickens, Galileo to Gadda, Calvino covers the classics he has loved most with essays that are fresh, accessible, and wise. Why Read the Classics? firmly establishes Calvino among the rare likes of Nabokov, Borges, and Lawrence--writers whose criticism is as vibrant and unique as their groundbreaking fiction.  

30 review for Why Read the Classics?

  1. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    You start your reading of Calvino’s explorations. You do this mainly to get to know a wonderful list of classics to tackle, of the thoughts of a loved author, and to know of how to approach these sometimes daunting works. After the masterful first essay which defines ‘classics’, you realize that Calvino is up to something here. You look at the long list of books and realize that too many of them fall in the invented category of ‘personal classics’ (‘his own classics’ in other words), the choice You start your reading of Calvino’s explorations. You do this mainly to get to know a wonderful list of classics to tackle, of the thoughts of a loved author, and to know of how to approach these sometimes daunting works. After the masterful first essay which defines ‘classics’, you realize that Calvino is up to something here. You look at the long list of books and realize that too many of them fall in the invented category of ‘personal classics’ (‘his own classics’ in other words), the choice of which are artfully explained away by his irrefutable first essay. You are now sure that the book would be an interesting window to Calvino’s literary world and his evolution but not to the vast classical education you were hoping for from the book. You put off the book many times over the year but eventually get back to it. But as you finally read through the rest of the essays, you realize that it is more fun than anticipated to hear Calvino talk of the books you have already read and enjoyed and just infuriating to read of ones that you haven’t. So you quickly buy the books as Calvino talks of them. Then you vow to read again his short essays on Anabasis or Pliny before you delve into these books, which might have been postponed indefinitely if not for Calvino’s gentle (but at the same time caustic) coaxing. Of course, you know that you would have to read the essays before you read your new acquisitions and then again a month after the reading is past just to compare experiences with Calvino, which as you already know is great fun. You also begin to discern a few jarring notes… but they do not put you off - a reading life is not complete without an explanation of the spirit that animates the reading quest. Calvino’s obsession with how history and its enactment is to be viewed begins to shine through. And, sometimes to your disappointment, he examines many of the authors primarily from the lens of how they tried to invent history and their own conceptions of it - slightly distorting his analysis in the process but with a distinct purpose. To you, some of these extrapolations seem like inventions but, it becomes difficult to draw the line between serious experiment and play. You console yourself with the fact that, luckily, Calvino’s obsession is a favorite pastime of your own as well. In the end, you scribble a quick one line review before moving eagerly to the heady pile of books that Calvino has collected for you on your desk: This book is a treasure. A Goodreads Corollary: Classics are those books which when you rate them, you only rate yourselves.

  2. 5 out of 5

    FotisK

    Ο Καλβίνο δεν είναι μόνο σημαντικός συγγραφέας, αλλά και ικανότατος δοκιμιογράφος / λογοτεχνικός κριτικός, όπως φαίνεται στο εν λόγω βιβλίο. Όχι, λοιπόν, καμία απορία δεν είχα "Γιατί να διαβάζουμε τους κλασικούς", καθώς στην τρέχουσα φάση της ζωής μου, το ερώτημά μου είναι "Γιατί να διαβάζουμε οτιδήποτε άλλο πλην των κλασικών". Εντούτοις, ο εξαίρετος αυτός πνευματικός άνθρωπος δίνει τη δική του ερμηνεία και ανάγνωση σε έργα του Ομήρου, του Οβιδίου, του Αριόστο, αλλά και Φλωμπέρ, Πάστερνακ κ.ο.κ. Κ Ο Καλβίνο δεν είναι μόνο σημαντικός συγγραφέας, αλλά και ικανότατος δοκιμιογράφος / λογοτεχνικός κριτικός, όπως φαίνεται στο εν λόγω βιβλίο. Όχι, λοιπόν, καμία απορία δεν είχα "Γιατί να διαβάζουμε τους κλασικούς", καθώς στην τρέχουσα φάση της ζωής μου, το ερώτημά μου είναι "Γιατί να διαβάζουμε οτιδήποτε άλλο πλην των κλασικών". Εντούτοις, ο εξαίρετος αυτός πνευματικός άνθρωπος δίνει τη δική του ερμηνεία και ανάγνωση σε έργα του Ομήρου, του Οβιδίου, του Αριόστο, αλλά και Φλωμπέρ, Πάστερνακ κ.ο.κ. Και αυτό αναζητεί κάποιος/όποιος. Την προσωπική οπτική, το βλέμμα που επικεντρώνει "εκεί" και όχι "αλλού", όχι απαραίτητα το σύνολο, αλλά το επιμέρους. Αλλά εκεί ακριβώς κρύβεται η τέχνη: στα συστατικά της μέρη, στη ματιά, στον ρυθμό, στη δομή και όχι στις μεγάλες ιδέες που έρχονται και παρέρχονται. Και ο Καλβίνο διαπρέπει και σε αυτό. https://fotiskblog.home.blog/2019/01/...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Silvia Cachia

    Italo Calvino, in his Why Read the Classics?, expresses it best: 8) A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity. From all this we may der Italo Calvino, in his Why Read the Classics?, expresses it best: 8) A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity. From all this we may derive a definition of this type: 9) The classics are books that we find all the more new, fresh, and unexpected upon reading, the more we thought we knew them from hearing them talked about. Naturally, this only happens when a classic really works as such—that is, when it establishes a personal rapport with the reader. If the spark doesn’t come, that’s a pity; but we do not read the classics out of duty or respect, but only out of love. Except at school. And school should enable you to know, either well or badly, a certain number of classics among which—or in reference to which—you can then choose your classics. School is obliged to give you the instruments needed to make a choice, but the choices that count are those that occur outside and after school.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Ali

    کتاب به شدت خواندنی است. به معنای واقعی کلمه موجب انتقال لذت خواندن آثار کلاسیک به خواننده می شود. اما افسوس و صد افسوس که ترجمه ی بد اثر را در موارد بسیاری نابود کرده است. جمله بندی های نامشخص و جملات تاخوانا به کرات در هر صفحه تکرار می شوند. تعجب انگیز است که ویراستاران اجازه ی چاپ این کتاب با این کل را داده اند... حیرت انگیز اینکه چاپی که من می خوندم چاپ چهارم بود و این کمال بی خیالیه که کسی به فکر بهتر کردن کار هم نیست... آن بخشی از کتاب که برای من بیش از همه جالب و افسون گر بود، شامل "آسمان، کتاب به شدت خواندنی است. به معنای واقعی کلمه موجب انتقال لذت خواندن آثار کلاسیک به خواننده می شود. اما افسوس و صد افسوس که ترجمه ی بد اثر را در موارد بسیاری نابود کرده است. جمله بندی های نامشخص و جملات تاخوانا به کرات در هر صفحه تکرار می شوند. تعجب انگیز است که ویراستاران اجازه ی چاپ این کتاب با این کل را داده اند... حیرت انگیز اینکه چاپی که من می خوندم چاپ چهارم بود و این کمال بی خیالیه که کسی به فکر بهتر کردن کار هم نیست... آن بخشی از کتاب که برای من بیش از همه جالب و افسون گر بود، شامل "آسمان، انسان، فیل"، "کتاب بزرگ طبیعت"، "سیرانو"، "رابینسون کروزوئه"، "جیاماریا اورتس"، بخش هایی از "یوجیبنیو مونتاله"، "فرانسیس پونژگ، "ریمون کونو" ( علی رغم ابهام های آزاردهنده ی بخش های مربوط به هگل، طنز و ... ) می شود. در مرتبه ی بعد، "چرا باید کلاسیک ها را خواند"، " گزنفون"، "تیران سپید"، "ژروم کاردان"، "دنی دیدرو" ( با وجود ابهامات آزاردهنده )، "چارلز دیکنز"، "ناخداهای کنراد"، "پاسترناک و انقلاب"، "آن ماجرای قاراشمیش خیابان مرولانا" و "همینگوی و ما" هم جالب بودند. اما "مقدمه"، "گی دو موپاسان"، "هنری جیمز"، "یویجینیو مونتاله" و "خورخه لوئیس بورخس" چنان غرق ابهام و گنگی بودند که کاملا بی استفاده می ماندند. به جز مونتاله آن سه تای دیگر چنان به نظر می آمدند که گویی به زبای بیگانه نوشته شده اند. نویسنده و مترجم نوشته را با هم به چنان سطحی از ابهام رسانیده بودند که خواندن و نخواندن دیگر هم ارز بود. به جز این بخش ها تقریبا در هر بخشی بندهای گنگ و نامشخص یافت می شد.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Italo Calvino brilliantly review some most known classics, such as: Odissey by Homer Anabase by Xenofante Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand Robison Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Candide by Voltaire Jacques le Fataliste by Denis Diderot La Chartreuse de Parma by Stendhal Our Mutual Friend by Dickens Daisy Miller by Henry James Doctor Jivago by Boris Pasternak among many other celebrated authors.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ritinha

    O Italo Calvino que se apreende deste conjunto de textos afigura-se como um agradável senhor com gosto pela leitura. Eu continuo a comprar e a ler livros sobre livros precisamente por faltar no meu quotidiano gente que seja sábia mas bondosa para com a minha ignorância, e disponível q.b. para me dispensar parte de um vasto conhecimento literário. Mas se essa pessoa dissertar longamente sobre autores dos quais nunca ouvi falar e que nada me interessam, ou sobre as diversas traduções e edições ita O Italo Calvino que se apreende deste conjunto de textos afigura-se como um agradável senhor com gosto pela leitura. Eu continuo a comprar e a ler livros sobre livros precisamente por faltar no meu quotidiano gente que seja sábia mas bondosa para com a minha ignorância, e disponível q.b. para me dispensar parte de um vasto conhecimento literário. Mas se essa pessoa dissertar longamente sobre autores dos quais nunca ouvi falar e que nada me interessam, ou sobre as diversas traduções e edições italianas de imensas obras, passarei a estar ocupadíssima a escovar as gatas e a fotografá-las para as exibir nas redes sociais, evitando encontros com esse cultor literário. Ou seja, boa parte destes textos e alguns dos seus segmentos foram-me penosamente inúteis. O que é lamentável, já que, mantenho, o Sr. Calvino desta escrita parece-me um simpático senhor. Mas o que me irritou e deu vontade de usar o livro para calçar móveis de assento instável foi a tradução. E não estou a falar de traduzir certa expressão como «o unicórnio vomitou, ex-líbris!» em vez de um mais fiel «o unicórnio gregou um arco-íris». Estou a referir-me ao uso de expressões que me causam raiva suficiente para organizar e fornecer uma festa da espuma, como infra melhor explanarei. Nesta tradução as coisas «têm a ver» e não «que ver». Já me basta a penosidade de lidar com isto no discurso mediático. Se o Calvino escrevesse em português não escreveria assim, aposto. Outra ainda mais irritante: espaço de tempo. E antes que algum francisco-espertista venha argumentar com o «ah! e tal, que a teoria da relatividade e o raio», aviso desde já que esta peregrina patetice expressiva também é usada num segmento em que se transcreve um TEXTO DO GALILEU! E as comparações também surgem «a» e não «com» (evento expressivo que ataca gente a Sul do Mondego como carraças aos canídeos em tempos primaveris). Não estando propriamente errada, é uma expressão que proporciona falta de clareza em dose suficiente para que eu a repudie.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    Calvino is not only a brilliant author but also an enigmatic bookworm. He weaves his multi-layered logic with the specific authors and books he’s referencing (one author per essay; 36 essays). If one have read the author/book he’s referencing, it’ll add deeper insights/logic of thought. If not read yet, one’ll be encouraged to read that author/book ASAP. Highlights: Ovid and Universal Contiguity Candide, or Concerning Narrative Rapidity The City as Novel in Balzac Jorge Luis Borges The Philosophy of Calvino is not only a brilliant author but also an enigmatic bookworm. He weaves his multi-layered logic with the specific authors and books he’s referencing (one author per essay; 36 essays). If one have read the author/book he’s referencing, it’ll add deeper insights/logic of thought. If not read yet, one’ll be encouraged to read that author/book ASAP. Highlights: Ovid and Universal Contiguity Candide, or Concerning Narrative Rapidity The City as Novel in Balzac Jorge Luis Borges The Philosophy of Raymond Queneau Notes: P83: The Book of Nature in Galileo Philosophy is written in this enormous book which is continuously open before our eyes (I mean the universe), but it cannot be understood unless one first understands the language and recognises the characters with which it is written. It is written in a mathematical language, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures. Without knowledge of his medium it is impossible to understand a single word of it; without this knowledge it is like wandering hopelessly through a dark labyrinth. (Il Saggiatore - Galileo) P124: Knowledge as Dust-cloud in Stendhal Stendhal claims, ‘there is no originality in truth except in the details’. P197: The World is an Artichoke The world’s reality presents itself to our eyes as multiple, prickly, and as densely superimposed layers. Like an artichoke. What counts for us in a work of literature is the possibility of being able to continue to unpeel it like a never-ending artichoke, discovering more and more new dimensions in reading. P223: Francis Ponge Re: read FP’s The Voices of Things Instructions for use are: a few pages every evening will provide a reading which is at one with Ponge’s method of sending out words like tentacles over the porous and variegated substance of the world. P240: Jorge Luis Borges The osmosis between what happens in literature and in real life: the ideal source is not some mythical event that took place before the verbal expression, but a text which is a tissue of words and images and meanings, a harmonisation of motifs which find echoes in each other, a musical space in which a theme develops its own variations. P241: The power of the written word is, then linked to lived experience both as the source and the end of that experience. As a source, because it becomes equivalent of an event which otherwise would not have taken place, as it were; as an end, because for Borges the written word that counts is the one that makes a strong impact on the collective imagination, as an emblematic or conceptual figure, made to be remembered and recognised whenever it appears, whether in the past or in the future. ..maximum concentration of meanings in the brevity of his texts. Re: Borges ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’. The hypothesis about time are put forward in TGOFP are each contained (and almost hidden) in just a few lines. First there is an idea of constant time, a kind of subjective, absolute present (‘I reflected that everything happens to a man in this very moment of now. Centuries and centuries, but events happen only in the present; countless men in the air, on land and sea, and everything that really happens, happens to me..’). Then an idea of time determined by will, the time of an action decided on once and for all, in which the future would present itself as irrevocable as the past. Lastly, the story’s central idea: a multiple, ramified time in which every present instant splits into two futures, so as to form ‘an expanding, dizzying web of divergent, convergent and parallel times’. This idea of an infinity of contemporary universes, in which all possibilities are realized in all possible combinations, is not a digression from the story, but the very condition which is required so that the..

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Arsnoctis

    Questa é una raccolta di saggi scritti da Calvino, in tempi diversi, sul tema dei classici. Il saggio iniziale, omonimo alla raccolta, é breve e di straordinaria attualitá. Consigliabile a un pubblico vastissimo di lettori. Il resto della raccolta propone riflessioni e chiavi di lettura per alcuni dei titoli piú ostici della letteratura e sono consigliabili a un pubblico ben piú ristretto di lettori che vogliano avere Calvino sulla spalla mentre affrontano i fantasmi della letteratura "classica". Questa é una raccolta di saggi scritti da Calvino, in tempi diversi, sul tema dei classici. Il saggio iniziale, omonimo alla raccolta, é breve e di straordinaria attualitá. Consigliabile a un pubblico vastissimo di lettori. Il resto della raccolta propone riflessioni e chiavi di lettura per alcuni dei titoli piú ostici della letteratura e sono consigliabili a un pubblico ben piú ristretto di lettori che vogliano avere Calvino sulla spalla mentre affrontano i fantasmi della letteratura "classica". La prosa di Calvino é piacevole in ogni caso.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hengameh HS

    کتاب مجموعه ای از مقالات جدا هستش از کالوینو که درباره ی هر کدوم از نویسنده های کلاسیک نوشته. مقالاتشم تو فاصله های زمانی مختلف و جاهای مختلف نوشته و چاپ شده و کتاب درواقع فقط جمع آوری و مرتبشون کرده. کتابی نیست که آدم یک جا بخونه! من خودم فقط مقالات مربوط به نویسنده های خاصیش رو خوندم و چون از سبک و سیاق کار باقی نوسیده های داخل کتاب اطلاعی ندارم احتمال میدم به مرور زمان و در طول سالها کتابو کامل خواهم خوند.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Perché leggere i classici?=Why Read the Classics?, Italo Calvino عنوان: چرا باید کلاسیک ها را خواند؛ نویسنده: ایتالو کالوینو؛ مترجم: آزیتا همپارتیان؛ نشر قطره در این سیر تاریخی، از «گزنفون» باستانی و نظامی گنجوی، به «ژرژ پرک» معاصر میرسیم. عنوان برخی از مقالات درج شده در کتاب: «آسمان، انسان، فیل»؛ «گزیده کوچک هشت بیتی»؛ «کتاب بزرگ طبیعت»؛ «جیاماریا اورتس»؛ «ناخداهای كنراد»؛ «همینگوی و ما»؛ «خورخه لوئیس بورخس«؛ «فلسفه ریمون کنو»؛ و پرک Perché leggere i classici?=Why Read the Classics?, Italo Calvino عنوان: چرا باید کلاسیک ها را خواند؛ نویسنده: ایتالو کالوینو؛ مترجم: آزیتا همپارتیان؛ نشر قطره در این سیر تاریخی، از «گزنفون» باستانی و نظامی گنجوی، به «ژرژ پرک» معاصر می‌رسیم. عنوان برخی از مقالات درج شده در کتاب: «آسمان، انسان، فیل»؛ «گزیده کوچک هشت بیتی»؛ «کتاب بزرگ طبیعت»؛ «جیاماریا اورتس»؛ «ناخداهای كنراد»؛ «همینگوی و ما»؛ «خورخه لوئیس بورخس«؛ «فلسفه ریمون کنو»؛ و پرک

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erdinç

    Başlıktaki "Klasikleri Niçin Okumalı?" sorusundan ilk ve çok güzel bir makalede bahsedilmiş. Kitabın gerisi ise Calvino'nun çeşitli yazarlar ve kitaplar üzerine incelemelerinden oluşuyor. Calvino'ya yakışan derinlikli ve yüksek okuma keyfi içeren bir eser olmuş.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Little bit uneven! Loved his essay on Homer, but the Borges one was surprisingly ineffective for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elena Tamborrino

    Le cinque stelle sono obbligatorie per questa raccolta di saggi dedicati ai classici, ad alcuni classici tra i più amati da Italo Calvino. Nonostante la difficoltà incontrata nell'affrontare la lettura di alcuni di essi, ad esempio i saggi su Raymond Queneau di cui conosco solo "Esercizi di stile" e quello su Pasternak e la rivoluzione russa vista attraverso il suo "Dottor Zivago", a Calvino do il merito di avermi fatto venire la voglia prepotente di leggere "Candido" di Voltaire e "La Certosa di Le cinque stelle sono obbligatorie per questa raccolta di saggi dedicati ai classici, ad alcuni classici tra i più amati da Italo Calvino. Nonostante la difficoltà incontrata nell'affrontare la lettura di alcuni di essi, ad esempio i saggi su Raymond Queneau di cui conosco solo "Esercizi di stile" e quello su Pasternak e la rivoluzione russa vista attraverso il suo "Dottor Zivago", a Calvino do il merito di avermi fatto venire la voglia prepotente di leggere "Candido" di Voltaire e "La Certosa di Parma" di Stendhal e di farmi riflettere su quanto di non immediatamente evidente c'è in tante opere che leggiamo.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Felipe Guerrero

    No era el libro que esperaba, no pudo decir que es un mal libro por que no lo es solo que a mi no me gustó realmente. El autor hace una breve descripción de algunos autores como Homero y La Odisea y poco a poco habla del libro y un poco de como esta estructurada lo mismo con Tolstoi o Hemingway pero, si bien hace un buen análisis de la obra, no da una verdadera razón de por que leerlos, se limita a solo analizarlos y explicar como están estructurados. En ningún momento dice cosas como "esta obra No era el libro que esperaba, no pudo decir que es un mal libro por que no lo es solo que a mi no me gustó realmente. El autor hace una breve descripción de algunos autores como Homero y La Odisea y poco a poco habla del libro y un poco de como esta estructurada lo mismo con Tolstoi o Hemingway pero, si bien hace un buen análisis de la obra, no da una verdadera razón de por que leerlos, se limita a solo analizarlos y explicar como están estructurados. En ningún momento dice cosas como "esta obra maneja un lenguaje que después fue adoptado por autores del mismo genero" o "sin duda las paginas de este libro se verán reflejadas en las obras de tal o cual autor". Al principio del libro, en una nota de Esther Calvino, se nos explica que este libro fue creado en base a las anotaciones que realizó previamente Italo Calvino (el autor de la obra) lo cual nos hace darnos cuenta, desde un principio ,de que su intención no fue crear un libro acerca de POR QUÉ LEER LOS CLÁSICOS si bien después de esto nos dan algunas definiciones que propuso el propio Calvino sobre por que leerlos. En fin, es un buen libro que encontró en MÍ a un lector inapropiado para compartir lo que tenía que decir.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Calvino is somewhat less charming as a literary critic than as a novelist. The introductory essay, "Why Read the Classics?," is an old favorite of mine, and I was glad to revisit it. But from there on out, I was mostly left cold. Granted, I hadn't read most of the books he was discussing-- Ovid, Xenophon, Pavese, Gadda, Montale, certain works by Flaubert-- so I was bound to be a bit less engaged than someone who had read the books in question. But even when I had read them (Stendhal, Homer) I wa Calvino is somewhat less charming as a literary critic than as a novelist. The introductory essay, "Why Read the Classics?," is an old favorite of mine, and I was glad to revisit it. But from there on out, I was mostly left cold. Granted, I hadn't read most of the books he was discussing-- Ovid, Xenophon, Pavese, Gadda, Montale, certain works by Flaubert-- so I was bound to be a bit less engaged than someone who had read the books in question. But even when I had read them (Stendhal, Homer) I wasn't terribly impressed. A notable exception: his essay on Hemingway is excellent, largely because it's one of the few writings on the man that manages to transcend both worship of and vicious hatred of Ernest H. Calvino is still probably my favorite writer ever-- if anyone is reading this, there's next to nothing of his stuff on my GoodReads profile because I devoured most of it in high school and college-- but this is easily the weakest of his works that I've encountered.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ahmet Kara

    Calvino’nun (çoğu Avrupa’lı) kendisini etkileyen pek çok yazar hakkında yaşamının değişik dönemlerinde kaleme aldığı yorum ve eleştirilerini içeren (ve ölümünden sonra derlenip yayımlanan) bir kitap. Ben aslında iyi yazarların başka iyi yazarlara dair yazdıklarını merak ederim, mümkün mertebe takip etmeye çalışırım. Bu kitabı da bu duygu ve düşüncelerle edindim. Ama --muhtemelen kitapta işlenen çoğu yazarı pek takip etmediğim için-- bu kitabı sevemedim. Büyük kısmını hızlı modda okudum, pek tavs Calvino’nun (çoğu Avrupa’lı) kendisini etkileyen pek çok yazar hakkında yaşamının değişik dönemlerinde kaleme aldığı yorum ve eleştirilerini içeren (ve ölümünden sonra derlenip yayımlanan) bir kitap. Ben aslında iyi yazarların başka iyi yazarlara dair yazdıklarını merak ederim, mümkün mertebe takip etmeye çalışırım. Bu kitabı da bu duygu ve düşüncelerle edindim. Ama --muhtemelen kitapta işlenen çoğu yazarı pek takip etmediğim için-- bu kitabı sevemedim. Büyük kısmını hızlı modda okudum, pek tavsiye de edemiyorum. Yine de okumayı düşünenler için şu yorumum katkı sağlayabilir: Okuma kararı vermeden önce kitabın içindekiler bölümüne (incelenen yazarlar listesine) göz atmanız faydalı olacaktır.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    In fairness, let me start by saying I didn't read this cover to cover-- I skipped around and ultimately only read about 2/3 of the content. This is a collection of essays on works that Calvino considered Classic. Many of them are firmly in the English Literature canon, but some of them are little more obscure and unfamiliar. If you know the work being discussed, the observations and theories are particularly interesting, but if you don't it feels a little like showing up for class without having In fairness, let me start by saying I didn't read this cover to cover-- I skipped around and ultimately only read about 2/3 of the content. This is a collection of essays on works that Calvino considered Classic. Many of them are firmly in the English Literature canon, but some of them are little more obscure and unfamiliar. If you know the work being discussed, the observations and theories are particularly interesting, but if you don't it feels a little like showing up for class without having done the reading. I found the title essay the most useful.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sunny

    Interesting book that tours circa 25 of Calvino's must reads. Some very interesting insights into books by some interesting Italian authors/novels like Cesare Pavese, the charterhouse of parma, but also touches some of the greek classics like ovid's metamorphosis and the iliad. Will certainly be buying some of the books recommended in this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sean Carman

    In this wonderful collection of short essays, Calvino writes about his favorite literary works, from the forgotten fantastical Medieval epic poem Orlando Furioso, which Calvino describes as a Western pre-cursor to The Arabian Nights, to Stendahl's masterpieces The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. There are also essays on Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Jorge Louis Borges. The title is a little misleading: Apart from the brief introductory essay, Calvino does not lecture the reader In this wonderful collection of short essays, Calvino writes about his favorite literary works, from the forgotten fantastical Medieval epic poem Orlando Furioso, which Calvino describes as a Western pre-cursor to The Arabian Nights, to Stendahl's masterpieces The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. There are also essays on Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Jorge Louis Borges. The title is a little misleading: Apart from the brief introductory essay, Calvino does not lecture the reader on the importance of reading the classics, nor does he offer a defense for their relevance. Instead, he celebrates his literary influences in his typically intelligent and entertaining style.

  21. 5 out of 5

    the gift

    180413: the first essay 'why read the classics' is reason enough for the rating. but then, I like Calvino... the only problem is that i have not read many of these, so my reviews will not exceed borges's reviews of hypothetical books. it is also interesting to read reviews that consider political expression eg hemingway, pasternak...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Come Musica

    È inutile: Calvino è sempre Calvino!

  23. 5 out of 5

    JuanitoLibritos

    Qué lucido, el colega. Me he quedado picueto de cómo se puede resolver un tema tan complejo en tan pocas páginas y tan bien explicado.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eleclyah

    Italo Calvino è un grande intellettuale. Ma è soprattutto un grandissimo bastardo. No, dico: mi tuffo in Perché leggere i classici perché m'ispira, chissà di cosa troverò in questa raccolta di saggi... ... e tu, caro Italo, mi parli di Omero, di Plinio il Vecchio, di Senofonte, di Miguel de Cervantes, Ludovico Ariosto, Nezami, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lev Tolstoj, Joseph Conrad, nonché dei vari Stendhal, Dickens, Balzac, Pasternak, Twain etc. con tale passione!!! Come faccio io a non rimpinguare la Italo Calvino è un grande intellettuale. Ma è soprattutto un grandissimo bastardo. No, dico: mi tuffo in Perché leggere i classici perché m'ispira, chissà di cosa troverò in questa raccolta di saggi... ... e tu, caro Italo, mi parli di Omero, di Plinio il Vecchio, di Senofonte, di Miguel de Cervantes, Ludovico Ariosto, Nezami, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lev Tolstoj, Joseph Conrad, nonché dei vari Stendhal, Dickens, Balzac, Pasternak, Twain etc. con tale passione!!! Come faccio io a non rimpinguare la mia già pingue wishlist? Come faccio io, scoprendo dei classici che mi descrivi come delle perle, a rimanere insensibile? Caro Italo, ti rinnovo tutta la mia stima. Ma sei un bastardo!!! In senso affettuoso, ovvio. Detto ciò... se vi accingete ad affrontare questo libro, non fatevi trarre in inganno dal titolo. "Perché leggere i classici" è il titolo del saggio (interessantissimo, peraltro) che apre la raccolta, ma senza pretendere di esserne il filo conduttore; perché è pur vero che Calvino parla di classici, nella raccolta, ma ne analizza particolari aspetti senza mai spiegare (se non implicitamente... vedi le prime righe del commento!) perché leggerli. E poi, un lettore non ha bisogno che qualcuno gli fornisca dei motivi per leggere un libro. È il libro che glieli fornisce da solo. Calvino, parlandoci di queste meravigliose e famigerate storie, narrate dagli autori di tutti i tempi, non è che un mezzo per avvicinarci ad esse.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Colin Bruce Anthes

    I did not read every page of this collection of essays, but only for the best of reasons. Calvino gives each classic in such enticing life, and I so often had to put aside his commentary because it too successfully made me want to read the book itself. My "ideal library" has expanded substantially through this reading, and that is a gift indeed. Additionally, the opening essay, from which the collection takes its name, is one of the finest and most enjoyable bits of theory I've encountered. I'll I did not read every page of this collection of essays, but only for the best of reasons. Calvino gives each classic in such enticing life, and I so often had to put aside his commentary because it too successfully made me want to read the book itself. My "ideal library" has expanded substantially through this reading, and that is a gift indeed. Additionally, the opening essay, from which the collection takes its name, is one of the finest and most enjoyable bits of theory I've encountered. I'll conclude with an except which could well be applied to this collection: "4. A classic is a book which with each rereading offers as much a sense of discovery as the first reading. "5. A classic is a book which even when we read it for the irst time gives the sense of something we have red before."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Güzin

    Kitabın adını "Klasikler Nasıl Okunmalı? şeklinde değiştirmeyi öneriyorum. Zira Italo Calvino seçki içinde ele aldığı kitapları yazarların anlatımdaki güçlü yönlerini ele alarak ayrıca kitapların konu, dil ve dünya edebiyatındaki yeri açısında layıkıyla okuyor. Kitap üzerine kaleme alınmış bir yazı şurada. http://birguloguz.blogspot.com.tr/201...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aurélie Knit & Read

    Autant j'ai pu apprécier les essais consacrés à des auteurs/œuvres que je connaissais déjà, autant il m'a été quasi-impossible de comprendre ceux traitant de ce qui m'était totalement inconnu. L'écriture de Calvino est savante, s'apparente même parfois à de la masturbation intellectuelle et, dans le cas des transcriptions de discours, je pouvais presque me le figurer adorant s'écouter parler... Cela ne rend pas ses interventions très sympathiques, évidemment... Qui plus est, la profondeur de son é Autant j'ai pu apprécier les essais consacrés à des auteurs/œuvres que je connaissais déjà, autant il m'a été quasi-impossible de comprendre ceux traitant de ce qui m'était totalement inconnu. L'écriture de Calvino est savante, s'apparente même parfois à de la masturbation intellectuelle et, dans le cas des transcriptions de discours, je pouvais presque me le figurer adorant s'écouter parler... Cela ne rend pas ses interventions très sympathiques, évidemment... Qui plus est, la profondeur de son érudition m'a bien fait sentir les énormes lacunes dans ma propre culture littéraire, en particulier dans le domaine de la littérature italienne contemporaine. Cela étant dit, j'ai globalement apprécié cette lecture, en particulier le prologue : en effet, à ce jour, je n'ai pas trouvé de meilleure définition de ce qu'est un classique, ou de déclaration d'amour plus aboutie aux classiques. Mon conseil : lisez ce livre en entier si vous êtes très érudit, ou sinon ne lisez que les essais consacrés à ce que vous connaissez, pour ensuite mieux revisiter ce livre au fur et à mesure de vos découvertes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Navid Taghavi

    دیدرو با وارونگی آن چه از آن روزگار نیت اصلی هر رمان نویسی بوده – یعنی وادار کردن خواننده به فراموشی این مطلب که دارد یک کتاب می خواند، تا خود را طوری به دست داستان روایت شده بسپارد که گویی واقعا در آن نقش دارد – او پیشاپیش صحنه ی نبرد تن به تن را میان نویسنده که داستانش را تعریف می کند و خواننده ای که چیزی نمی خواهد به جز شنیدن آن، قرار می دهد: کنجکاوی ها، انتظارها، نومیدی ها، اعتراضات خواننده و نیز مقاصد، مشاجره ها، سواستفاده های نویسنده که درباره ی روند داستان تصمیم می گیرد، گفت و گویی را می دیدرو با وارونگی آن چه از آن روزگار نیت اصلی هر رمان نویسی بوده – یعنی وادار کردن خواننده به فراموشی این مطلب که دارد یک کتاب می خواند، تا خود را طوری به دست داستان روایت شده بسپارد که گویی واقعا در آن نقش دارد – او پیشاپیش صحنه ی نبرد تن به تن را میان نویسنده که داستانش را تعریف می کند و خواننده ای که چیزی نمی خواهد به جز شنیدن آن، قرار می دهد: کنجکاوی ها، انتظارها، نومیدی ها، اعتراضات خواننده و نیز مقاصد، مشاجره ها، سواستفاده های نویسنده که درباره ی روند داستان تصمیم می گیرد، گفت و گویی را می سازند که چارچوب گفت و گوی دو قهرمان اصلی می شود که خود نیز چارچوب گفت و گوهای دیگرند. دیدرو حرکتی را که هدف برشت در تئاتر بود، دو قرن زودتر به انجام رساند: او رابطه ی خواننده را با کتاب دگرگون می کند و پذیرش منفعل را به مباحثه ای مستمر بدل می کند تا ذهن انتقادی را بیدار نگه دارد. البته با این تفاوت : برشت در چارچوب هدف های مشخص تعلیماتی خود عمل می کند، حال آن که به نظر می رسد دیدرو تنها می خواهد هرگونه جانبداری را از میان بردارد. باید گفت که دیدرو با خواننده اش تا حدی وارد بازی موش و گربه می شود و در هر مرحله ی داستان چندین امکان گونه گون قرار می دهد. گویی می خواهد او را آزاد بگذارد تا آن ادامه ای را انتخاب کند که ترجیح می دهد و بعد با کنار زدن تمام راه ها به جز یکی، او را نومید می کند و تازه غیرداستانی ترین راه را هم بر می گزیند. ژاک قدری، اثری که در هیچ ضابطه و هیچ نوع طبقه بندی جا نمی گیرد، سنگ محکی است که می توان با آن بسیاری از تعاریف بی شمار ساخته و پرداخته ی نظریه پردازان ادبی را آزمود. نمی توان منکر تاثیر تریسترام شندی اثر استرن بود که در آن سال ها از نظر ادبی و برخورد با چیزهای جهان، پدیده ای جدید و پر هیاهو و نمونه ای بود از روایتی آزاد که در نقطه ی مقابل سلیقه ی قرن هفدهم فرانسه، از موضوع فاصله می گیرد. نوشتار آزاد دیدرو همان اندازه در برابر "فلسفه" قرار می گیرد که مقابل "ادبیات" ، اما ادبیاتی که ما امروزه به عنوان نوشتار حقیقی ادبی می شناسیم، همان نوشتار اوست. تصادفی نیست اگر اخیرا از ژاک قدری و اربابش نمایشی مدرن توسط نویسنده ی باهوشی مثل میلان کوندرا اقتباس شده است. و اگر رمان کوندرا، سبکی تحمل پذیر بودن او را به عنوان دیدرویی ترین نویسندگان معاصر مطرح می کند، به خاطر هنر او در آمیختن رمان احساساتی، رمان وجودی، فلسفی و طنز است.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mateus Pereira

    Calvino começa dando definições do que é um clássico e conclui: 1. “Clássicos são aqueles livros dos quais, em geral, se ouve dizer: ‘estou relendo...’ e nunca ‘Estou lendo...’.” 2. “Toda primeira leitura de uma clássico é na realidade uma releitura.” Essas são algumas das propostas de definição – no geral são 14. Depois disso o leitor encontra uma série de pequenos ensaios sobre autores que Calvino considera essenciais para o alimento do espírito. Gente como Homero, Xenofonte, Ovídio, Diderot, F Calvino começa dando definições do que é um clássico e conclui: 1. “Clássicos são aqueles livros dos quais, em geral, se ouve dizer: ‘estou relendo...’ e nunca ‘Estou lendo...’.” 2. “Toda primeira leitura de uma clássico é na realidade uma releitura.” Essas são algumas das propostas de definição – no geral são 14. Depois disso o leitor encontra uma série de pequenos ensaios sobre autores que Calvino considera essenciais para o alimento do espírito. Gente como Homero, Xenofonte, Ovídio, Diderot, Flaubert, Tolstoi, Dickens e outros. Trecho: “È claro que se pode formular a hipótese de uma pessoa feliz que dedique o “tempo-leitura” de seus dias exclusivamente a ler Lucrécio, Luciano, Montaigne, Erasmo, Quevedo, Marlowe, o Discours de La méthode, Wilhelm Meister, Coleridge, Ruskin, Proust e Valéry, com algumas divagações para Murasaki ou para as sagas islandesas. Tudo isso sem ter de fazer resenhas do último livro lançado nem publicações para o concurso de cátedra e nem trabalhos editoriais sob o contrato com prazos impossíveis. Essa pessoa bem-aventurada, para manter sua dieta sem nenhuma contaminação, deveria abster-se de ler os jornais, não se deixar tentar nunca pelo último romance nem pelo última pesquisa sociológica.” p. 14 HAHAHAHAHA

  30. 5 out of 5

    Raum

    Italo Calvino is my favorite author: I love the elegant lightness of his writing style, and the way he can be refreshing and original even when he deals with the most difficult topics. Some authors become like friends, and for me Calvino is a sort of 'uncle'. Imagine what happens when an author you consider a friend talks about those books that you read and reread -- those books that have been with you in an important phase of your life, and that even after years are like family members you want Italo Calvino is my favorite author: I love the elegant lightness of his writing style, and the way he can be refreshing and original even when he deals with the most difficult topics. Some authors become like friends, and for me Calvino is a sort of 'uncle'. Imagine what happens when an author you consider a friend talks about those books that you read and reread -- those books that have been with you in an important phase of your life, and that even after years are like family members you want to visit now and then. Meanwhile, the books are still the same, but you -- the reader -- have changed and carry new questions with you. Will those beloved books give you the answers? I think so. Those books are 'my' (or your) classics.

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