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Calvino, Italo - Invisible cities

Calvino, Italo - Invisible cities



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Published by: sirkay2006 on Aug 19, 2009
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Italo CalvinoInvisible CitiesFirst published in 1972translated from the Italian by William WeaverItalo Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and grew up in San Remo, Italy. He is anessayist and journalist as well as a novelist, and is a member of the editorialstaff of the Turin publishing firm Giulio Einaudi Editore. His other novelsinclude _The Castle of Crossed Destinies__ (also published in Picador),_Cosmicomics,__ and _t zero.__ In 1973 Italo Calvino won the prestigious Italianliterary award, the Premio Feltrinelli.110.....11 Cities and memory 111 Cities and memory 212 Cities and desire 113 Cities and memory 314 Cities and desire 215 Cities and signs 116 Cities and memory 417 Cities and desire 318 Cities and signs 219 Thin cities 120.....224.....27 Cities and memory 528 Cities and desire 429 Cities and signs 330 Thin cities 231 Trading cities 132.....336.....39 Cities and desire 540 Cities and signs 441 Thin cities 342 Trading cities 243 Cities and eyes 145.....448.....51 Cities and signs 552 Thin cities 453 Trading cities 354 Cities and eyes 2
54 Cities and names 156.....558.....61 Thin cities 561 Trading cities 462 Cities and eyes 363 Cities and names 264 Cities and the dead 166.....668.....71 Trading cities 572 Cities and eyes 473 Cities and names 374 Cities and the dead 276 Cities and the sky 178.....782.....85 Cities and eyes 586 Cities and names 488 Cities and the dead 389 Cities and the sky 291 Continuous cities 193.....896.....99 Cities and names 5100 Cities and the dead 4101 Cities and the sky 3102 Continuous cities 2103 Hidden cities 1104.....9106.....109 Cities and the dead 5111 Cities and the sky 4112 Continuous cities 3113 Hidden cities 2114 Cities and the sky 5116 Continuous cities 4117 Hidden cities 3119 Continuous cities 5120 Hidden cities 4122 Hidden cities 5124 .....1
_Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when hedescribes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartarsdoes continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiositythan he shows any other messenger or explorer of his. In the lives of emperorsthere is a moment which follows pride in the boundless extension of theterritories we have conquered, and the melancholy and relief of knowing we shallsoon give up any thought of knowing and understanding them. There is a sense ofemptiness that comes over us at evening, with the odour of the elephants after therain and the sandalwood ashes growing cold in the braziers, a dizziness that makesrivers and mountains tremble on the fallow curves of the planispheres where theyare portrayed, and rolls up, one after the other, the despatches announcing to usthe collapse of the last enemy troops, from defeat to defeat, and flakes the waxof the seals of obscure kings who beseech our armies' protection, offering inexchange annual tributes of precious metals, tanned hides, and tortoise shell. Itis the desperate moment when we discover that this empire, which had seemed to usthe sum of all wonders, is an endless, formless ruin, that corruption's gangrenehas spread too far to be healed by our sceptre, that the triumph over enemysovereigns has made us the heirs of their long undoing. Only in Marco Polo'saccounts was Kublai Khan able to discern, through the walls and towers destined tocrumble, the tracery of a pattern so subtle it could escape the termites'gnawing.__CITIES & MEMORY 1Leaving there and proceeding for three days towards the east, you reach Diomira, acity with sixty silver domes, bronze statues of all the gods, streets paved withlead, a crystal theatre, a golden cock that crows each morning on a tower. Allthese beauties will already be familiar to the visitor, who has seen them also inother cities. But the special quality of this city for the man who arrives thereon a September evening, when the days are growing shorter and the multicolouredlamps are lighted all at once at the doors of the food stalls and from a terrace awoman's voice cries ooh!, is that he feels envy towards those who now believe theyhave once before lived an evening identical to this and who think they were happy,that time.CITIES & MEMORY 2When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city.Finally he comes to Isidora, a city where the buildings have spiral staircasesencrusted with spiral seashells, where perfect telescopes and violins are made,where the foreigner hesitating between two women always encounters a third, wherecockfights degenerate into bloody brawls among the betters. He was thinking of allthese things when he desired a city. Isidora, therefore, is the city of hisdreams: with one difference. The dreamed-of city contained him as a young man; hearrives at Isidora in his old age. In the square there is the wall where the oldmen sit and watch the young go by; he is seated in a row with them. Desires arealready memories.CITIES & DESIRE 1

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