By Letizia Modena
This examine recovers Italo Calvino's primary position in a misplaced historical past of interdisciplinary proposal, politics, and literary philosophy within the Nineteen Sixties. Drawing on his letters, essays, severe stories, and fiction, in addition to a variety of works--primarily city making plans and layout thought and history--circulating between his fundamental interlocutors, this ebook takes as its aspect of departure a sweeping reinterpretation of Invisible Cities. Passages from Calvino's most famed novel normally seem as aphorisms in calendars, posters, and the preferred literature of idea and self-help, lowering the radical to obscure abstractions and totalizing knowledge approximately pondering outdoor the field. The shadow of postmodern reports has had a equally diminishing impression in this textual content, rendering up an comprehensive yet finally apolitical novelistic experimentation in unending deconstructive deferrals, the glossy surfaces of play, and the finally rigged video game of self-referentiality. by contrast, this examine attracts on an archive of untranslated Italian- and French-language fabrics on city making plans, structure, and utopian structure to argue that Calvino's novel in reality introduces readers to the cloth background of city renewal in Italy, France, and the U.S. within the Sixties, in addition to the multidisciplinary center of cultural existence in that decade: the complicated and non-stop interaction between novelists and designers, scientists and artists, literary historians and visible reviews students. His final love poem for the death urban was once actually profoundly engaged, deeply devoted to the moral dimensions of either structure and lived event within the areas of modernity in addition to the resistant practices of interpreting and utopian imagining that his city reviews in flip encouraged.
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Extra resources for Italo Calvino's Architecture of Lightness: The Utopian Imagination in An Age of Urban Crisis (Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature)
It’s the sign of another orbit—follow it,” reads Montale’s “Arsenio” (v. 12). This is the tiny crack, slender opening, or barely perceptible loophole signaled in Calvino’s lesson on lightness as he emphasizes the moral value of thin and light literary icons. To pursue and fi nd such small traces requires that readers learn how to see (and interpret) anew. Conversely, the reading of light literary images educates the imagination of readers to visually break up the petrification, perceive its heterogeneity, and recognize its instantiations of levity, of unexpected grace.
By opposing activism to apathy, creative powers to stultifying clichés, utopian literature fosters the ascending modality of lightness exemplified in the aforementioned Cavalcanti’s “vaulting on nimble legs over a tombstone,” which Calvino describes as “a visual image of lightness that acquires emblematic value” (Six Memos 17). Fused with the image of Perseus, the vaulting of the poet-philosopher summarizes the value of ascending lightness: that is, Calvino’s partiality both for disembodied, dematerialized images and for a detached and elevated point of view (Modena, “I contorni”).
Such seeds are the everlasting matter that holds each thing together more or less tightly. It takes different forces to dissolve the contexture of these unions, but nothing can destroy the fi rst elements (bk. 21 Lucretius employs the technical lexicon of Epicurean physics, concilio (composition/combination of bits of prime matter) and its opposite, discidium (decomposition/separation of prime matter): “no visible object utterly passes away, since nature makes up again one thing from another, and does not permit anything to be born unless aided by another’s death” (bk.
Italo Calvino's Architecture of Lightness: The Utopian Imagination in An Age of Urban Crisis (Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature) by Letizia Modena