“Six Memos For The Next Millennium” by Italo Calvino is a collection of five Charles Eliot Norton Lectures written in 1985/1986 about what should be cherished in literature with intriguing titles:
1 – Lightness,
2 – Quickness,
3 – Exactitude,
4 – Visibility,
5 – Multiplicity
and the never written memo “6 – Consistency”.
In my opinion these lectures transcend “Goodreads”, these lectures are a must-read for every serious writer and reader!
The third memo by Italo Calvino – Exactitude – begins as follows:
“For the ancient Egyptians exactitude was symbolised by a feather, that served as a weight on scales used for the weighing of the Soul. This light feather was called “Maat” (also the Dutch word for measure) – Goddess of the scales”.
Italo Calvino begins his memo on “Visibility” with the verses:
“Then rained down into the high fantasy…”.
According to Italo Cavino:
”Rains the “Visibility” – or images – down from heaven; that is, God sends them to the people”.
As clarification of imagination, Italo Calvino quotes the following lines from the Purgatory by Dante:
You, imagination, that prevented us
Many times to perceive the world,
Although around may sound a thousand cymbals
What moved you, outside our sense?
A flash of light, created in heaven,
By itself, or by the will of God.
This is Italo Calvino’s testimony on literature in our Western contemporary world rooted in Christianity.