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The Nonexistent Knight & the Cloven Viscount (Harbrace Paperbound Library; 73)by Italo Calvino
These novellas were written early in Calvino's career, yet are colored with many of the literary elements for which he'd come to be known and loved. A fabulist of the highest order, Calvino gently conveys his stories, with nary a smidgen of sanctimoniousness to be found. With unassuming literary prowess and ample humor, Calvino (whose snubbing by the Swedish Academy is unpardonable) possessed one of the most unique imaginations (to say nothing of styles) in all of modern literature.
Both The Nonexistent Knight and The Cloven Viscount are fantastic stories woven with an ease and simplicity that leave considerable room for the reader to ponder Calvino's manifest moral offerings. While clearly not his intent, Calvino's remarkable inventiveness exposes the lack of creativity with which many authors are (somehow) still able to ply their trade. Too, Calvino's characters, main and secondary, are some of the most quaint, eccentric, and lovable ever to animate a page.
So of love as of war I shall give a picture as best I can imagine it. The art of writing tales consists in an ability to draw the rest of life from the nothing one has understood of it, but life begins again at the end of the page when one realises that one knew nothing whatsoever. —The Nonexistent Knight
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Two novellas: the first, a parody of medieval knighthood told by a nun; the second, a fantasy about a nobleman bisected into his good and evil halves. "Bravura pieces... executed with brilliance and brio" (Chicago Tribune). Translated by Archibald Colquhoun. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
About the Author
ITALO CALVINO’s superb storytelling gifts earned him international renown and a reputation as “one of the world's best fabulists” (New York Times Book Review). He is the author of numerous works of fiction, as well as essays, criticism, and literary anthologies. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino was raised in Italy, where he lived most of his life. At the time of his death, in Siena in 1985, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer.
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