Italo Calvino

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Calvino, Italo

(ĭtəlō călvē`nō), 1923–85, Italian novelist. Calvino was one of the most popular novelists of the 20th cent. Although loneliness is an essential condition in his writings, he imbues his stories with passion and celebrates the human capacity for love and imagination. During the 1940s, he was associated with Italian neo-realist writers, such as Elio Vittorini, Cesare Pavese, and Natalia Levi Ginzburg. During the 1950s, however, Calvino turned to fantasy and allegory. His trilogy of historical fantasies—The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Baron in the Trees (1957), and The Nonexistent Knight (1959)—brought him international acclaim. Other important works include Cosmicomics (1965, tr. 1968), Italian Folktales (1956, tr. 1980), and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979, tr. 1981).


See his autobiographical essays in The Road to San Giovanni (tr. 1993), and other autobiographical writings in Hermit in Paris (tr. 2003); M. Wood, ed., Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941–1985 (2013); studies by S. M. Adler (1979) and I. T. Olken (1984).

Calvino, Italo


Born Oct. 15, 1923, in Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba. Italian writer; member of the Italian resistance during World War II.

Calvino’s neorealistic works—the novella on partisan life The Path to the Nest of Spiders (1947) and his collection of short stories The Raven Comes Last (1949)—express antifascist, democratic ideas. During the 1950’s, Calvino intensified his social criticism, unmasking the antihumanitarian quality of modern capitalist society in the novellas A Building Speculation (1957; Russian translation, 1965) and The Cloud of Smog (1958) and in the cycle of short story-parables about the poor man Mar-covaldo (1953-56).

Calvino is the creator of an original philosophical and allegorical prose genre, in which he poses acute contemporary ethical problems: the novellas The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Baron in the Trees (1957; Russian translation, 1965), and The Nonexistent Knight (1959) and the satirical, imaginative short stories Cosmi-comics (1965; Russian translation, 1968). Calvino collected and reworked folk tales (the collection Italian Fables, 1956; Russian translation, 1959).


Ti con zero. Turin, 1967.
Il castello dei destini incrociati. Parma, 1970.
In Russian translation:
Kot i politseiskii: Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1964.
[“Rasskazy.”] In the collection Ital’ianskaia novella XX veka. Moscow, 1969.


Potapova, Z. M. Neorealizm v italianskoi literature.Moscow, 1961.
Pescio Bottino, G. Calvino. Florence, 1967.


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