Italo Calvino was one of the most important Italian writers of the twentieth century, his books are now a subject of study and his thought has had a great impact on the whole world of modern and contemporary literature. He was a great scholar and intellectual, and in addition to his famous novels he also dealt with art, cinema, music and theater, becoming well known abroad. In his career he experimented with various literary genres with great success: here are the most important books and works by Italo Calvino.
Italo Calvino: biography
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and returns to Italy with his parents at the age of three. He becomes a partisan and fights in the Second World War. After the war, Calvino enrolled at the University of Turin and chose the faculty of letters. In this period he joins the Italian Communist Party but not only, writes his first stories and manages to get them published. Thus begins a collaboration between the writer and the Einaudi publishing house, a place that gives Calvino the opportunity to meet many highly important colleagues. Once his first novel was published, entitled The path of spider nests, Calvino’s career took off, churning out one masterpiece after another. In 1964 the writer married Esther Singer, an Argentine translator, and a few years later the two moved to Paris together. In the following decade, Calvino’s art reaches its maximum form with the absolute masterpieces that they are The invisible cities, Palomar And The castle of crossed destinies. The author dies in 1985, suddenly.
The thought of Italo Calvino
In the first period of his career Italo Calvino joined the Neorealism, dealing above all with recounting the war and the Resistance. He moves briefly on fantastic literature to then move on to a new, very personal phase in which the writer is free to express himself fully. Italo Calvino’s mind has always been full of innovation and in the second half of the seventies, once he gained the respect of the public and critics, the writer was free to dare with experimentation and great originality. The works in which Calvino’s thought can be most appreciated are his essays on literature.
Neither The sea of objectivity the writer talks about a current that touched him personally, Neorealism. The marrow of the lion deals instead with the theme of literature, more precisely of his personal idea of literature. American lessons is a collection of speeches that Italo Calvino had prepared for six conferences he was supposed to discuss at Harvard. Unfortunately, the writer died before meeting the young American university students, but thanks to this collection Calvino managed to spread his “six proposals for the next millennium”. According to the author, twenty-first century literature had to be light, fast, exact, visible and multiple.
The books to read by Italo Calvino
The first novel written by Calvino is The path of spider nests, Pin, the protagonist, is a child who during the war is forced to live among adults, seeing the weaknesses of men and the contradictions of conflicts up close. In terms of fantastic literature, Italo Calvino’s masterpiece is certainly the trilogy Our Ancestors, which begins its cycle with The viscount halved. Then follows The Rampant Baron which is probably the best known novel of the three, in the plot a young boy climbs a tree and once he reaches the top he decides that this is where he will spend the rest of his life. The Nonexistent Knight, the last chapter of the trilogy, Calvino tells the story of a disembodied knight who lived at the time of Charlemagne. From the same period, i.e. the fifties, they are equally famous The Cosmicomics And you with zero, two volumes that collect several fictional stories. Also in this decade Calvino deals successfully with fairy tales, writing some stories that have become very popular.CopyAMP code.
The most important works of Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino’s books are all small masterpieces but the great works of the writer are those produced during his experimentation phase. The first of these dates back to 1969 and it’s The castle of crossed destiniesstrangers find themselves in a castle, they are all unable to speak and to tell their stories, all intertwined, they will have to use a deck of tarot cards. The invisible cities is perhaps the masterpiece absolute by Italo Calvino: in the novel Marco Polo tries to describe to the emperor Kublai Khan all the cities he has visited, also including the sensations that they arouse in visitors through their noises, scents and local flavours.
In If a traveler on a winter’s night the protagonist is a reader who, while trying to read a book, titled just like the novel itself, is interrupted and forced to start reading again, finding the book always different. Finally in Palomar Italo Calvino describes the world from the point of view of a rather original observer: the homonymous gentleman who gives the book its title.