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Summary Italo Calvino's beloved cosmicomics cross planets and traverse galaxies, speed up time or slow it down to the particles of an instant. Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere.
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I got the impression that Calvino, at least among small literary communities, gets some flak for being meta all the time. Meta literature is often seen as novel, despite the mastery and know-how that's on display. That said, personally, I enjoy his work--most likely because I enjoy reading.
I think there's also a pure aesthetics in Calvino particularly Invisible Cities that puts him far beyond just "meta" or "postmodernism" or whatever tag you want to use. Both very good! Calvino is very different from most authors. I love his self-referential reflections on writing and reading. I've never read a book that discusses the actual experience of being a reader, and the processes that involves.
What is Baron in the Trees about? If on a winter's night a traveller is purely about the last thing you said. It's been some time since I read it, but I'd like to weigh in on Invisible Cities from an urban planning perspective rather than a purely literary one since that's my field of study.
In fact, I often say it should be required reading for planning students. It's obviously not a guidebook for how to plan a city or anything like that, but I absolutely loved how Calvino was able to take completely intangible but no less "real" parts of cities and to bring them out into the open through magical realism. The most obvious one I remember is the city where every person's connection to someone else creates a red string between them, and eventually the city becomes so tangled in red string that they need to start it all over again.
One issue that urban planning has struggled with over the past century and still today is that solutions often are engineered with quantifiable data, so the human element has been removed. While planners might represent cities in terms of roads or zoning codes, I love that Calvino chose instead to represent them with things like emotions and memories.
In fact, this critique feels like what I felt was the broader critique of the whole book: That in spite of all the alleged "success" we have had as a society in terms of growth and development, that this largely ignores meaningful human experience, that we fall victim to overconsumption, and that it could ultimately leave our cities in ruins.
Sounds interesting, what did the teacher say when you chose it?