By Irving Howe, Nina Howe

Man of letters, political critic, public highbrow, Irving Howe used to be certainly one of America's such a lot exemplary and embattled writers. given that his dying in 1993 at age seventy two, Howe's paintings and his own instance of dedication to excessive precept, either literary and political, have had a full of life afterlife. This posthumous and capacious assortment comprises twenty-six essays that initially seemed in such courses because the New York overview of Books[/i, the [i]New Republic[/i, and the [i]Nation[/i. Taken jointly, they exhibit the intensity and breadth of Howe's enthusiasms and diversity over politics, literature, Judaism, and the tumults of yankee society.

[i]A Voice nonetheless Heard is vital to the knowledge of the passionate and skeptical spirit of this lucid author. The publication kinds a bridge among the 2 parallel agencies of tradition and politics. It indicates how politics justifies itself by way of tradition, and the way the latter activates the previous. Howe's voice is ever sharp, relentless, frequently scathingly humorous, revealing Howe as that rarest of critics—a genuine reader and author, one whose readability of fashion is due to the his disciplined and candid brain.

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More broadly, Lucretius’s theory of simulacra interacts productively with Calvino’s long-held conviction that literature impacts the imagination, and thus the thoughts, of readers. When discussing the formation of visual simulacra, Lucretius inserted a digression on thought or cognition, which I consider central to Calvino’s thinking on perception, the imagination, and literature. By thought, Lucretius meant a mental picture or visualization, for ίδέα in Greek meant “image” (Dionigi 382). According to Lucretius, visualization is made possible by simulacra that are even thinner than the ones received by the human eye.

But, instead, I am a specialist in imaginative and verbal material, and I dedicate myself to the hunger for written words, for stories told, for mythological figures: all stuff that is no less essential than food, as we all know. (“Colloquio” 2787) It was so necessary, in his view, that he confided in Camon his dream of founding a literary journal aimed at “a new public that has not yet thought about the place literature might occupy among their daily necessities” (“Colloquio” 2786). 1 In the 18 Italo Calvino’s Architecture of Lightness 1962 essay “Usi politici giusti e sbagliati della letteratura,” for instance, he framed literature as one of society’s principal “instruments of self-awareness” (“Right and Wrong Political Uses of Literature” 97).

13 My genealogy of ascending lightness as an ethical and aesthetic value reconstructs it as a continuum spanning nearly three decades and including Invisible Cities as its middle point. By reinstating the ideological and poetic continuities between the essays on magma and Six Memos, we arrive at a radically different understanding of ascending lightness, which shaped the visual nuclei and the distanced or estranged perspective of Invisible Cities, as I demonstrate later (chs. 3 and 4). This critical revision of ascending lightness places in bold relief Calvino’s idea that fleeing from the sea of the object world was crucial to preserving the alterity of the individual consciousness, that is, the self’s powers of imagination and critical thinking.

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