C.Isn’t Italo Calvino left with a lot of stuff in his desk drawer? The Road to Giovanni, The Parisian Hermit) or Literary Criticism (Next Six Notes). Millennium, Why Read the Classics?).
Thus, in this seventh collection, covering a scattering of Calvino’s literary works from 1952 to 1985 and translated by Anne Goldstein, In the Written and Unwritten Worlds, Expect Scraps from the Table. maybe. Sure enough, there’s a little bit of stuff here (such as the character name page), but surprisingly, there’s a lot more to it.
The greatest value is in the first section, Reading, Writing, and Translating. Calvino eases us with a playful opening about holiday reading ambitions (“A good reader really finally decided to read that author this summer”). The firmament of colored covers, this cloud of dust on type.”
He also delves into his favorite authors—Stendhal, Chekhov, Pushkin—a credible and predictable troupe, but fewer women than Jane Austen (no, wait: “Have you read her?” No, but I’m glad she exists.”). and Katherine Mansfield.
But a reader as keen as Calvino cannot easily agree with what others have read of his work. He wrote to a critic who praised his book T Zero: [it] ‘likable’; but the less the book is liked, the more important it is. The more troublesome it is to incorporate, the more important it is. ”
But this line is hard to match with his declaration elsewhere that “it is my first and binding social duty to entertain my readers, or at least not to bore them.” am. it is strict. This balance – conveying knotty thoughts with a light touch – is found in all his mature work, from Invisible Cities to Mr. Palomar.
Calvino expresses this tension between appeasing and challenging the reader in another way, saying that literature dies without the avant-garde, but that the “eternal avant-garde” is “equally annoying”. increase. Thomas Mann is really his nineteenth-century writer, he claims, and William Faulkner points the way forward. Lolita, on the other hand, is a great book. “Because you can direct your attention in an infinite number of directions at the same time” – Calvino’s own fantastic explanation of fiction.
Calvino’s work was widely translated, and his translation work was “a true way to read yourself and understand what you wrote and why.” He admits to being a “translator tormentor” (which is why his long-time collaborator William His Weaver learned English well enough to choose his own Mott his Justice). Consistent with Calvino’s description of stubbornness, who thinks he knows).
Not everything here is essential: some works become confusing when their context is removed. For example, letters replying to essays that we never see, or references to Hegelian Lukács or Berxonism, have their own length in footnotes to help the general reader understand them. you will need. to understand.
But there is a lot to enjoy. Calvino’s love of fantasy literature has a section of its own, and the scientific review that makes up the final part is undeniably inspiring. These elements are Calvino’s curiosity side of how to see things. In the title essay, he reflects on his anxiety about the “real” world outside of books, asking himself, “Why would I want to step into a vast world that I can’t master?” The answer, of course, was to put it on the page and help us helpless readers see and understand it.