This volume of posthumously collected personal writings of Italo Calvino range from the early 1950s to his last interview, completed before his death in 1985. They examine major 20th-century events from a personal viewpoint, and provide a homage to his adoptive city, Paris.
Italo Calvino once said that he preferred to give false details about his biography since he felt that even the genuine data of a writer's life shed no light on the creative work. But this volume of posthumously collected personal writings is the closest we will ever come to the autobiography of this most private of writers. The pieces collected here range from the early 1950s to his last interview, completed just before his sudden death in 1985. Apart from shedding light on his own formative experiences and evolution as an author, Calvino's autobiographical writings also examine the major events of twentieth-century history from a very personal viewpoint: his memories of Fascism in San Remo in the 1930s, his participation in the Resistance in the Ligurian hills in the '40s, his militant communism in the early 1950s, and his exit from the Italian Communist Party in 1957. The two most substantial items are of geographical as well as historical interest. The first is an unpublished travelogue recounting his visit to the USA in 1960: apart from narrating his encounters with key figures of the time such as James Purdy and Martin Luther King, and his impressions of the beatniks and the Kennedy-Nixon election campaign, Calvino also takes us on a tour of the major cities as well as to riot-torn Alabama. The other piece, which gives its title to the whole volume, is Calvino's evocative homage to his adopted city, Paris, where he lived from 1967 to 1980. The whole volume is, as ever, full of ideas on literature and other writers, all conveyed with the author's distinctive lightness and intelligence.
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. One of the most respected writers of our time, his best-known works of fiction include Invisible Cities, If on a winter's night a traveller, Marcovaldo and Mr Palomar. Martin McLaughlin won the John Florio Award for his translation of Calvino's Why Read the Classics?
The Hermit In Paris by Italo Calvino
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