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Italo Calvino's Letters

The New Yorker is publishing excerpts from Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985, translated by Martin McLaughlin, on its book blog. (via) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on May 22, 2013 - 15 comments

 

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

The Distance of the Moon

In honor of this Saturday's Supermoon, a story from Italo Calvino about a time the moon was even closer. And a short film based on the story. (Hebrew w/ English subtitles)
posted by goingonit on May 7, 2012 - 25 comments

Italo Calvino sparks obsessions

Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities is so called because it asserts that what makes up a city is not so much its physical structure but the impression it imparts upon its visitors, the way its inhabitants move within, something unseen that hums between the cracks. This, however, has in no way dissuaded people from attempting to give form to his works. One such example is the Hotel Tressants, a building in Menorca, Spain containing 8 rooms named after and inspired by various cities from the novel. Meanwhile, artists offer illustrations1,2,3, installations 1,2,3,4,5, music1,2,3,4,5,6 and dance, hypertexts1,2, computer programs and animations, even View-Master slides, while intellectuals offer readings and commentary1,2, lectures1,2, and critical texts1,2,3 sparked by the man and his writings. It has been dubbed "The Calvino Effect". Do you know of any more?
posted by Lush on May 20, 2005 - 37 comments

OuLiPo

Oulipo. Originally founded by author Raymond Queneau and mathematical historian François Le Lionnais, this group (literally the Workshop for Potential Literature- Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle,) sought to create and incorporate restrictive techniques and methods into their writing. The circle has since expanded, welcoming those outside of France and beyond literary genius. Oulipo and its effects upon the literary world still exist today.

Some products of this group's eccentricity are a novel lacking the letter "e" (in both original French and its English translation) (by Georges Perec, who also needs a direct link here), a novel both self-referential and circular, and 100,000,000,000,000 sonnets made from interchangeable lines.
posted by hopeless romantique on Dec 21, 2004 - 13 comments

But the cities visited by Marco Polo were always different from those thought of by the emperor

The Names of Ancient Cities Still Stir the Imagination. While the City of 333 Genies has almost vanished in the sands and the Mirror of the World is tarnished with age, the City of Men's Desire abides. In 1000 years, will the Big Apple be as vital as the Eternal City or as forgotten as the City of Venerated Houses?
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 7, 2004 - 10 comments

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