Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Calvino Vita!

Tempest tippler Curley gave me a book by Italo Calvino called HERMIT IN PARIS, a rag bag of autobiographical writings. An essay included, "Political Autobiography of a Young Man," contains a little manifesto that is worth quoting:

"I would like to point out here at least two things which I have believed in throughout my career and continue to believe in. One is the passion for a global culture, and the rejection of the lack of contact caused through excessive specialization: I want to keep alive an image of culture as a unified whole, which is composed of every aspect of what we know and do, and in which the various discourses of every area of research and production become part of that general discourse which is the history of humanity, which we must manage to seize and develop ultimately in a human direction. (And literature should of course be in the middle of these different languages and keep alive the communication between them)."

Calvino wrote the above in 1962; I had no idea he was so ardently political-- as the next passage shows--

"My other passion is for a political struggle and a culture (and literature) which will be the education of a new ruling class (or new class tout court, if class means only that which has class-consciousness, as in Marx). I have always worked and continue to work with this in mind: seeing the new ruling class taking shape, and contributing to give it a shape and profile."

And from a Master often considered postmodern--tout court-- because of his stylistic brilliance.
I'm awed. --Katy O'Farrell