Italo Calvino

Literary Birthday – 15 October – Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino was born 15 October 1923, and died 19 September 1985.


  1. It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.
  2. It’s better not to know authors personally, because the real person never corresponds to the image you form of him from reading his books.
  3. A quarter of America is a dramatic, tense, violent country, exploding with contradictions, full of brutal, physiological vitality, and that is the America that I have really loved and love. But a good half of it is a country of boredom, emptiness, monotony, brainless production, and brainless consumption, and this is the American inferno.
  4. A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
  5. One writes fables in periods of oppression.
  6. The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.
  7. The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.
  8. I have spent more time with other people’s books than with my own. I do not regret it.
  9. Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combination of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopaedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable.
  10. The writer is someone who tears himself to pieces in order to liberate his neighbour.
  11. You reach a moment in life when, among the people you have known, the dead outnumber the living. And the mind refuses to accept more faces, more expressions: on every new face you encounter, it prints the old forms, for each one it finds the most suitable mask.
  12. The novels that attract me most… are those that create an illusion of transparency around a knot of human relationships as obscure, cruel and perverse as possible.

Italo Calvino was an Italian short story writer and novelist. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy, and the novels,  Invisible Cities and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller.

Source for Image

The original uploader was Varie11 at Italian Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th October 2014