Our mid-semester project requires each student to post five memos. Each memo consists of five parts. The memos are based off the five qualities listed as the qualities of literature, explained by Italo Calvino in his book of memos, “Six Memos for the New Millennium”. The memos are lectures Calvino had written for a seminar at Havard. As some of you have noticed, I mentioned that we were required to post five memos about each of his qualities, but his book mentions six memos. This is because Calvino passed away before he was able to complete his final memo. The five qualities he was able to explain are Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity. The one quality that Calvino, unfortunately, left for us to evaluate by ourselves was Consistency.

The project requires that each memo evaluate a piece of E-lit work relative to each quality. The memos consist of five parts. We are required to explain, in full, Calvino’s “definition” of the quality. Calvino used his own personal experiences with mythology, literary examples, historical events, etc. to better explain his ideas about the quality. The second part of the memo requires us to find an E-Lit work that best relates to this quality. The third part requires each student recall on knowledge we gained from reading Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips’ book “Graphic Design The New Basics”. We are supposed to evaluate what graphic design tool best shows the meaning of the work. The fourth part of the memo looks for each student to do as Calvino did and call on a personal analogy that we can relate to the E-Lit work. The last portion of the memo is looking for students to find an emblem that can be related to the E-Lit we selected.

While working on this project, the hardest part was trying to put my mind in the right place while evaluating each quality. I was having trouble being creative enough to think of analogies and emblems. I was able to get past this by realizing that Calvino thoroughly outlines how he evaluated the qualities and how he was able to find relatable subjects. I just looked to Calvino and his examples to better understand my own preferences. Although the center of interest for the memos is the E-Lit selected, Calvino’s memos can play a huge role in better understanding one’s own memos.


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