Italo Calvino quotes

Italo Calvino photo
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Italo Calvino

Birthdate: 15. October 1923
Date of death: 19. September 1985

Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy , the Cosmicomics collection of short stories , and the novels Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler .

Admired in Britain, Australia and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death. Wikipedia

Works

„And in that moment we all thought of the space that her round arms would occupy moving backward and forward with the rolling pin over the dough, her bosom leaning over the great mound of flour and eggs, […] and we thought of the space the flour would occupy, and the wheat for the flour, and the fields to raise the wheat, and the mountains from which the water would flow to irrigate the fields; […] of the space it would take for the Sun to arrive with its rays, to ripen the wheat; of the space for the Sun to condense from the clouds of stellar gases and burn; of the quantities of stars and galaxies and galactic masses in flight through space which would be needed to hold suspended every galaxy, every nebula, every sun, every planet, and at the same time we thought of it, this space was inevitably being formed, at the same time that Mrs. Ph(i)Nk0 was uttering those words: "… ah, what noodles, boys!" the point that contained her and all of us was expanding in a halo of distance in light-years and light-centuries and billions of light-millennia, and we were being hurled to the four corners of the universe, […] and she, dissolved into I don't know what kind of energy-light-heat, she, Mrs. Ph(i)Nk0, she who in the midst of our closed, petty world had been capable of a generous impulse, "Boys, the noodles I would make for you!," a true outburst of general love, initiating at the same moment the concept of space and, properly speaking, space itself, and time, and universal gravitation, and the gravitating universe, making possible billions and billions of suns, and of planets, and fields of wheat, and Mrs. Ph(i)Nk0s, scattered through the continents of the planets, kneading with floury, oil-shiny, generous arms, and she lost at that very moment, and we, mourning her loss.“

—  Italo Calvino, book Cosmicomics

Pages 46-47, "All at One Point".
Cosmicomics (1965)

„Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.“

—  Italo Calvino, book Invisible Cities

Page 44.
Source: Invisible Cities (1972)
Context: With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.

„One reads alone, even in another's presence.“

—  Italo Calvino

Source: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

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