Italo calvino essay

Over a seven-year period, Calvino wrote three realist novels, The White Schooner (1947–1949), Youth in Turin (1950–1951), and The Queen's Necklace (1952–54), but all were deemed defective. [32] During the eighteen months it took to complete I giovani del Po ( Youth in Turin ), he made an important self-discovery: "I began doing what came most naturally to me – that is, following the memory of the things I had loved best since boyhood. Instead of making myself write the book I ought to write, the novel that was expected of me, I conjured up the book I myself would have liked to read, the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and another country, discovered in an attic." [33] The result was Il visconte dimezzato (1952; The Cloven Viscount ) composed in 30 days between July and September 1951. The protagonist, a seventeenth century viscount sundered in two by a cannonball, incarnated Calvino's growing political doubts and the divisive turbulence of the Cold War . [34] Skillfully interweaving elements of the fable and the fantasy genres, the allegorical novel launched him as a modern " fabulist ". [35] In 1954, Giulio Einaudi commissioned his Fiabe Italiane (1956; Italian Folktales ) on the basis of the question, "Is there an Italian equivalent of the Brothers Grimm ?" [36] For two years, Calvino collated tales found in 19th century collections across Italy then translated 200 of the finest from various dialects into Italian. Key works he read at this time were Vladimir Propp 's Morphology of the Folktale and Historical Roots of Russian Fairy Tales , stimulating his own ideas on the origin, shape and function of the story. [37]

Indeed, Calvino saw the editorial function as militant; he wrote to a would-be writer: “I am someone who works (apart from on my own books) in order that the culture of my time can move in one direction rather than another.” Wood quotes “a casual, generous remark” of Calvino to the effect that “I have spent more time with other people’s books than with my own,” to which he added, “I do not regret it.” He was to continue his association with Einaudi until his death, staying true to his view of his publishing work, “which I do badly and [which] takes up my time,” as “something serious and that is why I always say I am going to leave it but I never do.”

Italo calvino essay

italo calvino essay


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