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Italo Calvino


Italo Calvino was born in 1923 in Santiago de las Vegas in Cuba. His parents were working there as botanists but the family returned permanently to Italy when Calvino was two years old, living on a farm in San Remo, where his parents continued their botanical work. He studied agriculture at the University of Turin but had to break off his studies when the Germans occupied Italy. He joined a partisan brigade but resumed his studies after the war, switching to literature and writing a thesis on Joseph Conrad. After university, he worked in publishing and journalism. He had also become a communist but left the party after the Soviet invasion of Hungary. He had started writing fiction at the end of the war, producing many stories which were only published later. His first novel – Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno (The Path to the Nest of Spiders) – was heavily influenced by the then fashionable neorealism movement and his communist views. However, he was already moving away from the standard communist approach to literature, i.e. a literature at the service of the people, and was moving towards the very individual style for which he is now known. This can already be seen in his second novel, Il visconte dimezzato (The Cloven Viscount), published in Italian in 1952.

In the mid-1960s, he started spending more time in Paris and was influenced by the French intellectuals and the 1968 events. (He later was awarded the French Légion d’honneur.) He continued to publish a series of novels which he called fables and which he maintained were just as real as realist novels. He achieved worldwide success with Le città invisibili (Invisible Cities) and, later, Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller). He died in 1985 of a brain hemorrhage. He will be remembered for producing a thoroughly original body of work, based on the fable, contemporary science and a postmodern view of reality.


Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino Biography
In Calvino Veritas
Italo Calvino (1923-1985)
Italo Calvino 1923-1985
Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Italo Calvino
Audio Special: Celebrating Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino as Author/Game-master in If on a winter’s night a traveler
Italo Calvino (in Italian)
Italo Calvino (in Italian)
Italo Calvino: la vita e le opere (in Italian)
Italo Calvino (1923-1985) (in Italian)
Italo Calvino, il sito italiano (in Italian)
I grandi scrittori del Novecento: Italo Calvino, dalla fertilità fantastica alla
narrativa combinatoria
(in Italian)
Calvino e i libri (in Italian)
La Sanremo di Calvino (in Italian)


1947 Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno (The Path to the Nest of Spiders)
1949 Ultimo viene il corvo (Adam, One Afternoon; later :Last Comes the Raven)
1952 Il visconte dimezzato (The Cloven Viscount)
1952 La formica argentina (The Argentine Ant)
1954 L’entrata in Guerra (Into the War)
1956 La panchina: Opera
1957 Il barone rampante (The Baron in the Trees)
1957 Adam, One Afternoon and Other Stories
1957 La speculazione edilizia (A Plunge into Real Estate)
1958 La nuvola di smog e La formica argentina (The Smog and The Argentine Ant in The Watcher and Other Stories)
1958 I racconti
1959 Il cavaliere inesistente (The Nonexistent Knight)
1960 I nostri antenati (Our Ancestors)
1963 La giornata di uno scrutatore (The Watcher in The Watcher and Other Stories)
1963 Marcovaldo, ovvero le stagioni in città (Marcovaldo or The Seasons in the City)
1965 Le cosmicomiche (Cosmicomics)
1965 La nuvola di smog (Smog)
1967 Ti con zero (t zero)
1969 Il castello dei destini incrociati (The Castle of Crossed Destinies)
1969 Tarocchi: Il mazzo visconteo di Bergamo e di New York with Sergio Samek Ludovici (Tarots: The Visconti Pack in Bergamo and New York)
1970 Gli amori difficili (Difficult Loves)
1972 Le città invisibili (Invisible Cities)
1979 Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller)
1980 Una pietra sopra. Discorsi di letteratura e società (The Uses of Literature; later: The Literature Machine)
1983 Palomar (Mr. Palomar)
1984 Collezione di sabbia (Collection of Sand)
1986 Sotto il sole giaguaro (Under the Jaguar Sun)
1988 Lezioni americane: Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio (Six Memos for the Next Millennium)
1988 Sulla fiaba
1990 La strada di San Giovanni (The Road to San Giovanni)
1991 I libri degli altri. Lettere 1947-1981
1991 Perchè leggere i classici (Why Read the Classics?)
1993 Prima che tu dica pronto (Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories)
1994 Eremita a Parigi. Pagine autobiografiche (Hermit in Paris)
1995 Album Calvino
2002 Mondo scritto e mondo non scritto
2003 Il libro dei risvolti
2009 The Complete Cosmicomics (contains full text of Ti con zero (t zero), selections from Prima che tu dica pronto (Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories) and other stories)
2023 The Written and World the Unwritten World (essays)