Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Rome Journal: Favoloso Calvino

portrait of. Calvino by Tullio Pericoli

Italo Calvino, the subject of a show at the Scuderie, is not usually associated with Alberto Sordi, the comic actor and star of Mafioso (1962) and Una Vita Difficile (1961)--this last also the title of the novel Sordi's feckless protagonist fails to sell. Calvino became everything that the Sordi creation wanted to be--an internationally known author and social activist. What's interesting is that the author of Italian Folktales and the fictionalized fiction (the novel titled Una Vita Difficile) shared a common bio ie in being a partisan who who resisted The Republic of Salo, the Mussolini run puppet government that followed the allied victory in '43. Membership in the Communist Party and internment constituted the CV of the reality and the creation. Sordi's character was not the doppoelganger or double for Calvino but Borges might have written a clever story about the fictional characters desire to move from "shadow" to reality. BTW, Calvino's Mr. Palomar, his last work, bears comparison to another famous literary alter ego Zbigniew Herbert's Pan Cogito.

listen to Joan Baum's NPR review of The Kafka Studies Department

and listen to "What Kind of Food (Do you think I am)?" by The Tams

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