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Italo Calvino was due to deliver the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard in 1985-86, but they were left unfinished at his death. The surviving drafts explore of the concepts of lightness, quickness, multiplicity, exactitude and visibility (Constancy was to be the sixth) in serious yet playful essays that reveal Calvino's debt to the comic strip and the folktale. With his customary imagination and grace, he sought to define the virtues of the great literature of the past in order to shape the values of the future. This collection is a brilliant precis of the work of a great writer whose legacy will endure through the millennium he addressed.