Italo Calvino, Why Read the Classics?
tr. Martin McLaughlin (1999; rpt. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), pp. 5-6:
Reading a classic must also surprise us, when we compare it to the
image we previously had of it. That is why we can never recommend
enough a first-hand reading of the text itself, avoiding as far as possible
secondary bibliography, commentaries, and other interpretations.
Schools and universities should hammer home the idea that no book
which discusses another book can ever say more than the original book
under discussion; yet they actually do everything to make students
believe the opposite. There is a reversal of values here which is very
widespread, which means that the introduction, critical apparatus, and
bibliography are used like a smokescreen to conceal what the text has to
say and what it can only say if it is left to speak without intermediaries
who claim to know more than the text itself.