E–pub/Kindle [I nostri antenati Il visconte dimezzatoIl barone rampanteIl cavaliere inesistente]
I reviewed all three stories separately The Baron in the Trees is brilliant 5 stars and but the other two are 4 stars eualling the collection out to 4 The Cloven Viscount Review HereThe Baron in the Trees Review HereNon Existent Knight Review Here This volume pulls together two novellas and one novel written across the length of the 1950s by Italo Calvino
as partial pastiches of past literature all with an implied commentary about partial pastiches of past literature all with an implied commentary about position of the intellectual in post war Italy This tells us all we need to now about the strengths and weaknesses of the work On the one hand Calvino writes fluently and with a mastery of the forms he is working with the comic Gothic novel the moral tale of the Enlightenment and the courtly romance but he is soon falling into the post modern trap of saying very little of any depth extremely wellWhy is this Perhaps it is because he is embarrassed He is a bourgeois intellectual and instinctive aesthete who wants to be a socialist in an age of hard nosed Marxists He is trying to Spanish Dagger (China Bayles, keep his nose high from the stench of politics and compromise while being a man of the Left How does he try and do this By metaphorically staying up in the trees and trying to appropriate the great European literary tradition for a basic liberal decency that reminds us of the similar and often not uite convincing efforts of Camus to do the same in 1950s FranceCalvino tries lightness of touch instead of trying to meet the sour pusses of the old Left on their own puritan ground as Camus did This means that the works are mostly enjoyable but also rather shallow a case of educated bourgeoisnowingly speaking unto educated bourgeoisFor all the claims Calvino was to make about abstracting the authentic vision of the common man from traditional literature exemplified by his remarkable Everyday life in medieval times knowledge of folk tales his work reuires a fair amount of education to appreciate fully There is an inherent snobbisme in itThe stories of good and evil disembodied in the cloven viscount the young aristocrat who takes to the trees and stays there and thenight who is perfect but does not exist are all well told and give an insight into the minds of an elite uncomfortable with modernity and yet committed to itThe contrast with Di Lampedusa s The Leopard published around the same time coming in this latter case from a genuine aristocrat whose compromise with modernity came from necessity and not from ideology is striking The bourgeoisie s continuing interest in the aristocracy is amusing They will not let go of the past Our genuine aristocrat can paradoxically he speaks of the past as the past whereas Calvino tries to bring the past into the future turning tragedy perhaps into farceItalo Calvino s short introduction is worth reading in this context He refers to his initial engagement with the post war fashion for social realism after the victory of the partisans over Mussolini but in his late twenties decided to follow his heart and Robert Louis StevensonThis tension between his literary aestheticism and the politics of engagement are being worked through in these works and that is why they are good but not great They are neither one thing nor the other the politics is obscure and the adventuring
Cloaked In Too Much in too much meaningIn the end it is all too clever by half It makes you feel superior for understanding things the hoi polloi won t get but there is no way this is a voice for the common man interesting amusing but locked in its time and in the past simultaneously It is a symbolic story in wich the principal character has had divided in two parts A good and a bad than constantly are fighting for their own interests And it was until the end that they had an agreement In my opinion all of us have a good and a bad personality inside us In many ocations we have to mediate between both of them But that is our human escence and that makes us uniue If these are our ancestors then we do indeed have a troubled and difficult inheritance although it could be that the collection title is the gift of the publisher This collection of three Calvino stories features partial people an empty suit of armour a half man chopped in half by a war would and a baron who doesn t have his feet on the groundApparently then we are in the world of fables are they critical views of our heroic past Or simply games toying with notions The great heroism of Charlemagne and his paladins is empty not exactly a surprise after The Song of Roland when one might well suspect that the heroes are some North kind of mechanical mincers released on to the battlefield And are we being brought to perceive of the Rococo and Enlightenment as periods when people. Es ist eineuriose Ahnengalerie die uns Italo Calvino in seinen drei berühmten Märchenromanen vorführt Da ist Medardo di Terralba der aus den Türkenkriegen in zwei Hälften geteilt zurückkommt von denen die eine abgrundtief böse die andere dagegen abs.
Italo Calvino ↠ 0 REVIEWIno He entertains and amazes me all the time In fact I
began his Invisible Cities first and then read his If On ahis Invisible Cities first and then read his If On a s Night a Traveller Both of them are his later writings and they are very post modern I loved both of them and then when I picked this up One of his earlier works I was prepared myself to face the intellectual challenge But then I found myself in the fairy world This book contains three fairy talesfolk talesmoral tales or may be folk novellas That was a pleasant surprise About the three novellas The Cloven Viscount speaks of a man halved into two and both his parts roam around in the village one doing good and the other doing badBaron in the Trees speaks of a man born on the earth but lived on the trees and disappeared in the sky It speaks of a man who chose to live his entire life on the trees Because according to him the view from the trees helped him to see the earth betterNon Existent Knight speaks of an empty armour serving the army of the ing CharlemagneThe narrations seem very simple But the actual reading gives the attentive and a literary reader plenty to ponder over In a simple fairy tale the history of Italy and Europe with emphasis on French revolution and the Muslim occupation of Spain the philosophical opinions Communism and feudalism and psychological insights and many other reflections on human nature and history are all splattered They do not interrupt the progress of the story In fact they are part of the story and a nowledge of it would lend the reader a different reading If a reader is happy enough only to pass the time by reading a book these would serve as simple fairy talesCalvino was truly a story teller He Dead Giveaway knew how to entertain everyone I finally finished this book and its not because I didn t like it I justept having lapses in my reading habits and so it took a while to get through Our Ancestors is basically an omnibus of three of Italo Calvino s early short pieces The Cloven Viscount which is a novella The Baron in the Trees which is a fairly short novel and finally The Non Existent Knight another novella I ll write a little about each piece as they are all pretty different and can t be summed up together effectivelyThe Cloven Viscount This first novella of the volume is about a nobleman returning from battle to his small village in Italy who has been bisected down the middle by a cannonball He is a wealthy and powerful figure of the area but soon begins to act strangely and the locals become unsure whether they are glad to have him back at all I enjoyed this first novella and found it to be a really novel idea which throws up a few surprises as it reaches its conclusion It does have a bit of a bloodthirsty nature in places but in an old German fairy tale type way and it is a well done little fable which never lagged at all and ept me interested throughoutThe Baron in the Trees This second piece is a proper short novel and is the main event in
the volume Baron Cosimo at the age of twelve decides he s had enough of being a ground dwellervolume Baron Cosimo at the age of twelve decides he s had enough of being a ground dweller flees to the tree tops to live a life among the birds suirrels and leafy boughs He still communes with those below but is intent on never again setting foot on the earth beneath him as he grows accustomed to his new unconventional way of life I really liked this one and thought it was the best book in the volume and enjoyed the way Calvino portrayed a life spent in the tree tops a delinuent Baron discarding his responsibilities and eschewing all expectations of him in favour of living life his own way Its also a nice slow meditative piece that doesn t rush in telling its tale and gradually unfolds in a very pleasing mannerThe Non Existent Knight This brief novella which finishes off Our Ancestors I probably found the least impressive of the three works but I certainly still enjoyed it A non existent night named Agilulf who resides in a suit of armour and fights for the army of Charlemagne in France meets a young prospective soldier and a weird and uite random adventure unfurls It rushes along a bit and jumps from one scene uickly to the next but it was slightly amusing in places and uite a fun way to conclude the volume as long as you like a bit of surreal farce in your fantasyfairy talesI overall really enjoyed Our Ancestors and found each separate book to have very much its own identity and its own feel and it was a high uality chunk of escapism I think anyone who likes magical realismfantasyfairy tales all written in an elegant literary fiction type style all uite slow paced but never boring will really relish reading Our Ancestors as it is uite charming and different and not like anything I ve read before. Nicht daß er eine der schillerndsten Persönlichkeiten des 18 Jahrhunderts werden soll Ein Muster an Präzision Ordnung und Humorlosigkeit ist der dritte Vorfahr ein Paladin Karls des Großen der allerdings eine merkwürdige Eigenschaft hat es gibt ihn nich. Had their heads in the clouds and couldn t Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism keep their feet on the ground A set of charming cultural jokes then which is perhaps not so far in attitude from If on a winter s night a travellerOn the whole these were my least favourite Calvino stories which means I still recommend them highly to the curious reader This triptych of stories in which Calvino coalesces fantasy folk tale and pastiche into a set of wonderful irreverent and beautiful stories and represents one of the high points in Calvino s oeuvre The Cloven Viscount is the story of a viscount whose body is split into two by virtue of jumping in front of a cannonball In aind of macabre re working of the double theme and in particular Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde one side
Is Evil And The Other Good Andevil and the other good and viscount is able to terrorize his subjects in turns via both his piety and malevolence Calvino explores the duality of human nature upending the traditional double theme by having his the good side of the viscount be as harmful as the bad with his
constant hectoring and sermonizing and of the importance of having a variety ofhectoring and sermonizing and of the importance of having a variety of to your personality the sense of incompleteness haunts both the good and bad halves of the count and it is only be joining together the both that he is able to re enter the human worldThe best story however is Baron In The Trees the story of a young aristocrat who decides in a fit if piue over having to eat snails to spend the rest of his life in trees Not only does the story explore the lost landscape of Ligurian Italy as Calvino said most Italian Literature is regional by nature and Calvino is able to recreate the Baron s arboreal Nope kingdom wonderfully well but it also expands the ideas in The Cloven Viscount on nature of the self but also of individuality and the importance of living life against ones own principles and ideals and not bowing down to societal norms and pressures A character in a novel by another writer who explored similar themes Tolstoy make an appearance as the Viscount encounters a lachrymose Russian soldier named Pierre Despite or perhaps because of his unusual lifestyle the Baron is able to live a rich and meaningful life a life full of joy pain heart break violence wisdom and madness and which is resplendent with beauty The Non Existent Knight is a light hearted pastiche of the pastoral novel in which anight who solely exists externally as a suit of armour is attended to by a suire who has no concept of his inner existence and who constantly mistakes himself for a duck or becomes confused at to whether he should be eating his food or his food should be eating him Exploring notions of existence and sentience The Non Existence Knight is the funniest story in the collection and acts as a Rejected Rejected Rejected kind of loving rejoinder of the clich s and tropes of stories ofnight errantryA truly beautiful collection of stories which are well worth a re visit This is my favourite work of fiction ever In a sense it is cheating for me to say this because there are actually three novels here presented between covers as a single book This work is a trilogy that isn t really a trilogy The three novels are related to each other yes but not by plot characters location or even mood only by the fact that they each seek to play with the profound truths that stem from a single incident or situation or conceitThere is so much richness in this volume that the spirit of much of modern literature could probably be reconstructed from it if all other books were destroyed in some improbable disaster That s all I feel able to say now I love Calvino I love this book My favourite story in this collection is The Baron in the Trees which is a wonderful fairy tale about a Listening: The Last Poems of Margaret Avison kid who wouldn t finish his dinner decides to live in a tree and crosses Europe from Italy to southern Spain without once touching the ground It is a beautiful masterful tale that reminds us how man in the last 6 or 7 centuries has destroyed many of the forests and natural diversity that existed on the Mediterranean coast in the middle ages It can be read again and again and is absolutely captivating That reminds me that I still need to read it to myidThe other two stories in this collection The Cloven Viscount and The Non Existent are both exemplary of the softer dreamy side of Calvino s writing and incredible imagination Calvino is probably my favourite writer His books are as varied and beautiful as it is possible to be For a long time I tried to learn Italian in part so as to be able to read him in the original language These are a fascinating series of stories almost stories The stars should be four and half I now realise that I can not get enough of Italo Calv. Olut gut ist Nicht weniger merkwürdig ist die Geschichte des zweiten Vorfahren Als der zwölfjährige Cosimo eines Tages beschließt auf die Bäume zu Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life in and Out of Jazz klettern um fortan den Erdboden nicht mehr zu betreten weiß seine entsetzte aristokratische Familie noch.