The hermit in Paris : autobiographical writings

by Italo Calvino

Other authorsMartin McLaughlin (Translator)
Hardcover, 2003




New York : Panthon Books, 2003


Italo Calvino once said that he preferred to give false details about his biography since he felt that even the genuine data of a writer's life shed no light on the creative work. But this volume of posthumously collected personal writings is the closest we will ever come to the autobiography of this most private of writers. The pieces collected here range from the early 1950s to his last interview, completed just before his sudden death in 1985. Apart from shedding light on his own formative experiences and evolution as an author, Calvino's autobiographical writings also examine the major events of twentieth- century history from a very personal viewpoint. This volume is, as ever, full of ideas on literature and other writers, all conveyed with the author's distinctive lightness and intelligence.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member nemoman
There is usually a reason for scraps of writing to be published posthumously; the author probably did not deem them of publishable quality when he was alive. This an uneven collection of letters, newspaper articles and written interviews that shed some insight into Calvino the man, but not much
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into his books. He is capable of cogent criticism except when it comes to himself. The diary of his trip to the US in 1959-60 is enjoyable. He explains his joining of the Communist Party, and his decision to quit. He never comes to grip with the fact that in practice, communism has led to some of the most miserable and totalitarian states in history. As an intellectual he would never have survived in those societies. Except for a brief apologia for being a believer in Stalin, at least in some sense, Calvino never explains what it is he found good about communism. Moreover, despite his valid criticisms of US society he is quiet concerning the cultural bankruptcy of his own country.
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