american lectures

American Lectures – six memos for the next web

Last week I gave a lecture in a training course for workers in the local Public Healthcare Agency in MonzaWhat do the American lectures matter with this?

While preparing the presentation which was a script to my rants 🙂 at one point I had one of those enlightments which put in front of your eyes a simple, easy thing… such a simple one, that you did not ever notice it so far.

It was all about the six memos for the next millennium, that is, the American lectures that Calvino was preparing to give during the famous summer lecture series at Harvard University – besides him, I understand that the only other one from Italy who has been ever invited was Umberto Eco – you know, only the real deal here, we are not kidding.

As you may know, Calvino died shortly before giving the lectures, and the last one was never completed. So these five or six “memos for the next Millennium” are a kind of his testament, and in fact they contain a nice summary of his writing style and his attitude towards language, but also of his way to see the world – and to sort out theoretically his own production, if you wish. The next millennium has arrived, meanwhile, it is here all around us – and the e-book with American lectures (if you do not want paper on your shelves) it’s one of those readings that, if your are just a bit interested in communication, you should really get yourself.

As wikipedia reminds us, the notes that Calvino has sent to our Millennium are about:

  1. Lightness
  2. Speed
  3. Accuracy (in the sense of being precise, not-wandering)
  4. Visibility
  5. Multiplicity
  6. Consistency (only in draft)

Now you tell me if these aren’t the tools of the author in the times of web 2.0, and if they could not be in one of those one-thousand posts on “how to write for the web” that run rampant in all online courses for socialmedia managers and the like.

for this reason, when Wired Italy has defiantly proposed his own topics for the written composition in this year’s High School national final tests, I have added this, as Italian language composition topic:

It seemed to be liked, it also got some retweet.
In any case, I am glad to see that good ol’ Calvino still has something to say, to teach at the times of the internet. Actually, as he said: a classic is a text which has never finished saying what it has to say.

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