Jason's Reviews > Six Memos For The Next Millennium

Six Memos For The Next Millennium by Italo Calvino
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Feb 14, 10

bookshelves: mustreread, favorites, non-fiction
Recommended for: writers

Calvino nails it:

"It sometimes seems to me that a pestilence has struck the human race in its most distinctive faculty--that is, the use of words. It is a plague afflicting language, revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous, and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness, extinguishing the spark that shoots out from the collision of words and new circumstances.
At this point, I don't wish to dwell on the possible sources of this epidemic, whether they are to be sought in politics, ideology, bureaucratic uniformity, the monotony of mass media, or the way the schools dispense the culture of the mediocre. What interests me are the possibilities of health. Literature, and perhaps literature alone, can create the antibodies to fight this plague in language."
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