Italian Lit month March 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I do Spanish lit month with Richard, but I was sat the other day in my book room and started looking at how many books from Italy. I thought I would love to do an Italian lit month since reading most of Zibaldone last year one of the defining books of Italian literature. I have been wanting to add a few more titles to my Italian list.So I decide March is a quiet month for me blog-wise I would suggest doing a lit month for Italy. I also like to throw in a couple of films at some point not quite made mind up which two to pick to watch.  I have on my shelves from Alberto Moravia and Italo Svevo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both of whom I have read but neither is on the blog.Then I have read and reviewed a few books from Italo Calvino and a couple by Claudio Magris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danube is one I want to feature after finishing river recently another book based around a river . Then I also have a couple of books by Giorgio Bassani and Giovanni Verga .Then I have a number of books by Europa editions which is an offshoot of an Italian publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They have published crime novels, lit fiction and of course Elena Ferrante.HAve you a favourite Italian writer?

Some websites and lists

Best Italian novels on Goodreads.

Tim parks five books from Italy .

10 modern Novels from Italy 

15 Italian writers who aren’t Elena Ferrante

Italian cultural institute  .

Complete review Italian lit under review.

My Italian reviews.

OUP  blog why read Italian Literature 

Europa Editions

 

 

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The castle of cross destinies by Italo Calvino

castle of crossed destinies

The castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino

Italian Fiction

Orginial title – Il castello dei destini incrociati

Translator – William Weaver

Source – Library

Well I’ve review three  of Calvino’s books before on the blog the Cuban born Italian writer is one of my personnel favourite writers ,he is considered one of greatest writer of 20 th century ,he wrote in various styles from realistic like his book into the war I reviewed here ,which was based on his world war two experiences  ,to surreal  like if on a winters night which I reviewed here  and post modern .He was also a member of the Oulipo group of writers .

i also try to

Now I mention the Oulipo connection because this book is just a perfect example of what that movement hope to achieve .The book takes the form of fifteen tales told at a castle and a tavern .Now it is how the stories are told ,because the people in the book telling the stories have been struck silent and have now power of speech to talk to each other . So they tell each other their stories via a pack of tarrot cards and are narrator fills in the gaps and makes stories for each of them .so we meet an alchemist ,grave robber doomed bride amongst others  at the castle .At the tavern we have waverer ,a forest seeking revenge and warriors .The narratives told are similar in there ways to books like Decameron and canterbury tales .The cards frame the stories and characters .

calvino

The stories show how as Calvino said ” a finite number of elements whose combinations are multiplied in a billion billion” Thus a pack of tarot could throw up any number of tales ,but then we have how do we tell the stories ,is it through the words of the narrator or the pictures on the cards how do we decide where to go when the same card with different number appear in different stories .What Calvino does is to spin the tale each time from card to card as he chooses the cards for each tale so we see how each character arrived at the castle or tavern and what has happened to them rather like the tales of the decameron and Canterbury  ,there was meant to be a third part to this et at a motel in the future that Calvino never wrote .This book is very unusual and is one of those books people are going to either love or hate ,now I loved it I love the thought of playing with what is storytelling test the boundaries by in a way cutting the chances down I mean each of these stories is formed from a tarot pack which normally contains 78 cards so thou the stories are infinite the route of the story has only a 1 in 78 chance to move on .Have you read any Oulipo books ?I chooose to use pages instead of writing quotes as it illustrates the stories much better than just the writing as you miss half of it because of their being no cards to see .

Into the war by Italo Calvino

Into the war by Italo Calvino

Italian Fiction

Translator Martin Mclaughlin

Italo Calvino was considered one of the most inventive modern italian writers in his time born in cuba he grew up in San Remo which was occupied by the german when the occupied the northern area of italy ,he joined the partisans ,this collection of three short stories  set during the second world war was published during the fifties .They have just been translated into English .

Into the war is a trio of loosely interlinked short stories this collection is only 90 pages all together .It also demonstrates the more straight forward side of Calvino’s writing ,more known for his later  experiential works like invisible cities and on a winter night .. .The books are set in 1940 and focus on three different generations , the first into the war we meet a young guy just join Il Duce’s army he is moved around told to do this and that and is let down from the dreams he had in a way .the second Avanguardisti in mention ,we join an army unit this is a slightly more  experienced solider ,as he  and his comrades travelled to an occupied part of france and the only bit that the Italians took early in the second world war .The third story is a comic war-time tale as we see what can happen in a blackout ,as a man the narrator isn’t where he was supposed to be looking after a school, no he is  trying  to find strange delights in the night .

It was a moonless night .The school building still reflected a vague brightness .I had arranged to meet Biancome there,but of course he was not on time .Beyond the school ,in the darkness ,there were houses and fields .You could hear the sound of crickets and frogs .

from story UNPA  nights (an Italian form of air raid wardens )

I can’t say much about the stories as that give away too much, a little research into Calvino’s own background shows that a lot of what happened him these stories certainly the first to is from first hand experience ,he was in the fascist scouts and briefly had to join the army and travelled to the part of france described in the second story during the same  time  as the story set .These as I said a start are from the journalistic side of his writing and shows that at the end of the day he was a great writer with out the need to use the  clever tricks and oulipo style he used in later novels and is more known for than this more autobiographical style of writing .I now really want to read his novel based on his time during the war” The path to the nest of spider ”  which he published before these stories but is also largely autobiographical like the stories are The three stories were translated by Martin Mclaughlin and these stories were translated by him last year 2011 .A worthy successor to the great William Weaver who translated most of Calvino’s other work .

Have you read any of Calvino’s works ?

 

invisible cities by italo calvino

there a scene in dead poets society where robin williams stands on a desk and says he’s up there to look at the room different ,well calvino does that in invisinble cities .the main preface of the story is that marco polo is describing to kublai khan all the cities that he has visited on his travels .so as the book unfolds you get brief two to three page descriptions of each city whether real or imagined you never know , interspeed between this are conversations between polo and khan .the descriptions of the cities are clever framing devices for calvino to play with language and type of stories .the main feeling i got from this is to always look at your surroundings you never know what your missing no matter how small

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