Literary Lectionary: I

“The fact is, my writing has always found itself facing two divergent paths that correspond to two different types of knowledge. One path goes into the mental space of bodiless rationality, where one may trace lines that converge, projections, abstract forms, vectors of force. The other path goes through a space crammed with objects and attempts to create a verbal equivalent of that space by filling the page with words, involving a most careful, painstaking effort to adapt what is written to what is not written, to the sum of what is sayable and not sayable. These are two different drives toward exactitude that will never attain complete fulfillment, one because “natural” languages always say something more than formalized languages can—natural languages always involve a certain amount of noise that impinges upon the essentiality of the information—and the other because, in representing the density and continuity of the world around us, language is revealed as defective and fragmentary, always saying something less with respect to the sum of what can be experienced.”

— Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the New Millenium

Italo Calvino.

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