Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985 - Updated Edition

Princeton University Press
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This is the first collection in English of the extraordinary letters of one of the great writers of the twentieth century. Italy's most important postwar novelist, Italo Calvino (1923-1985) achieved worldwide fame with such books as Cosmicomics, Invisible Cities, and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. But he was also an influential literary critic, an important literary editor, and a masterful letter writer whose correspondents included Umberto Eco, Primo Levi, Gore Vidal, Leonardo Sciascia, Natalia Ginzburg, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Luciano Berio. This book includes a generous selection of about 650 letters, written between World War II and the end of Calvino’s life. Selected and introduced by Michael Wood, the letters are expertly rendered into English and annotated by well-known Calvino translator Martin McLaughlin.

The letters are filled with insights about Calvino’s writing and that of others; about Italian, American, English, and French literature; about literary criticism and literature in general; and about culture and politics. The book also provides a kind of autobiography, documenting Calvino’s Communism and his resignation from the party in 1957, his eye-opening trip to the United States in 1959-60, his move to Paris (where he lived from 1967 to 1980), and his trip to his birthplace in Cuba (where he met Che Guevara). Some lengthy letters amount almost to critical essays, while one is an appropriately brief defense of brevity, and there is an even shorter, reassuring note to his parents written on a scrap of paper while he and his brother were in hiding during the antifascist Resistance.

This is a book that will fascinate and delight Calvino fans and anyone else interested in a remarkable portrait of a great writer at work.

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About the author

Michael Wood is professor of English and comparative literature at Princeton University. His most recent books are Yeats and Violence and A Very Short Introduction to Film. Martin McLaughlin is the Agnelli-Serena Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the translator of Calvino's Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, Into the War, and Why Read the Classics?, which won the John Florio Prize for translation. He is also cotranslator of Calvino's The Complete Cosmicomics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jun 17, 2013
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Pages
640
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ISBN
9781400846245
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Modern / 20th Century
Literary Collections / Letters
Literary Criticism / European / Italian
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The opening lines of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri launched Rod Dreher on a journey that rescued him from exile and saved his life. Dreher found that the medieval poem offered him a surprisingly practical way of solving modern problems.

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Robert Durling's spirited new prose translation of the Paradiso completes his masterful rendering of the Divine Comedy. Durling's earlier translations of the Inferno and the Purgatorio garnered high praise, and with this superb version of the Paradiso readers can now traverse the entirety of Dante's epic poem of spiritual ascent with the guidance of one of the greatest living Italian-to-English translators. Reunited with his beloved Beatrice in the Purgatorio, in the Paradiso the poet-narrator journeys with her through the heavenly spheres and comes to know "the state of blessed souls after death." As with the previous volumes, the original Italian and its English translation appear on facing pages. Readers will be drawn to Durling's precise and vivid prose, which captures Dante's extraordinary range of expression--from the high style of divine revelation to colloquial speech, lyrical interludes, and scornful diatribes against corrupt clergy. This edition boasts several unique features. Durling's introduction explores the chief interpretive issues surrounding the Paradiso, including the nature of its allegories, the status in the poem of Dante's human body, and his relation to the mystical tradition. The notes at the end of each canto provide detailed commentary on historical, theological, and literary allusions, and unravel the obscurity and difficulties of Dante's ambitious style . An unusual feature is the inclusion of the text, translation, and commentary on one of Dante's chief models, the famous cosmological poem by Boethius that ends the third book of his Consolation of Philosophy. A substantial section of Additional Notes discusses myths, symbols, and themes that figure in all three cantiche of Dante's masterpiece. Finally, the volume includes a set of indexes that is unique in American editions, including Proper Names Discussed in the Notes (with thorough subheadings concerning related themes), Passages Cited in the Notes, and Words Discussed in the Notes, as well as an Index of Proper Names in the text and translation. Like the previous volumes, this final volume includes a rich series of illustrations by Robert Turner.
In the early 1300s, Dante Alighieri set out to write the three volumes which make the up The Divine Comedy. Purgatorio is the second volume in this set and opens with Dante the poet picturing Dante the pilgrim coming out of the pit of hell. Similar to the Inferno (34 cantos), this volume is divided into 33 cantos, written in tercets (groups of 3 lines). The English prose is arranged in tercets to facilitate easy correspondence to the verse form of the Italian on the facing page, enabling the reader to follow both languages line by line. In an effort to capture the peculiarities of Dante's original language, this translation strives toward the literal and sheds new light on the shape of the poem. Again the text of Purgatorio follows Petrocchi's La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata, but the editor has departed from Petrocchi's readings in a number of cases, somewhat larger than in the previous Inferno, not without consideration of recent critical readings of the Comedy by scholars such as Lanza (1995, 1997) and Sanguineti (2001). As before, Petrocchi's punctuation has been lightened and American norms have been followed. However, without any pretensions to being "critical", the text presented here is electic and being not persuaded of the exclusive authority of any manuscript, the editor has felt free to adopt readings from various branches of the stemma. One major addition to this second volume is in the notes, where is found the Intercantica - a section for each canto that discusses its relation to the Inferno and which will make it easier for the reader to relate the different parts of the Comedy as a whole.
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