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Tag Archives: e-literature

The first of Calvino’s Memos was the quality of Lightness. He described it as the “lightening of language whereby meaning is conveyed through a verbal texture that seems weightless,” or the “subtraction of weight [from the text].” He felt it was necessary to remove the weight from text to make it easier to read, and also that the characters in a story overcome their heavy burdens. In contrast, I can think of no better oppositional example than that of philosophy, a doctrine that tries to convey its thoughts as heavily and densely as possible. If I had to speak for Calvino, I would say he disagreed with the discourse styles of a great many philosophers.

The point of Lightness is to excise all that burden from literature, and make living a little easier and more enjoyable. Most concepts relating to release or freedom can somehow be traced back to Lightness.