The Uses of Literature Quotes

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The Uses of Literature The Uses of Literature by Italo Calvino
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“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature
“The ideal place for me is the one in which it is most natural to live as a foreigner.”
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature
“It can also be useful to politics, enabling that science to discover how much of it is no more than verbal construction, myth, literary tops. Politics, like literature, must above all know itself and distrust itself. As a final observation, I should like to add that it is impossible today for anyone to feel innocent, if in whatever we do or say we can discover a hidden motive - that of a white man, or a male, or the possessor of a certain income, or a member of a given economic system, or a sufferer from a certain neurosis - this should not induce in us either a universal sense of guilt or an attitude of universal accusation. When we become aware of our disease or of our hidden motives, we have already begun to get the better of them. What matters is the way in which we accept our motives and live through the ensuing crisis. This is the only chance we have of becoming different from the way we are - that is, the only way of starting to invent a new way of being.”
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature
“This is the paradox of the power of literature: it seems that only when it is persecuted does it show its true powers, challenging authority, whereas in our permissive society it feels that it is being used merely to create the occasional pleasing contrast to the general ballooning of verbiage.”
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature
“I will quote Cioran (who is not yet a classic but will become one): "While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning a tune on the flute. 'What good will it do you,' they asked, 'to know this tune before you die?”
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature