Calvino, Italo (ĭtəlō călvēˈnō) [key], 1923–85, Italian novelist. Calvino was one of the most popular novelists of the 20th cent. Although loneliness is an essential condition in his writings, he imbues his stories with passion and celebrates the human capacity for love and imagination. During the 1940s, he was associated with Italian neo-realist writers, such as Elio Vittorini, Cesare Pavese, and Natalia Levi Ginzburg. During the 1950s, however, Calvino turned to fantasy and allegory. His trilogy of historical fantasies— The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Baron in the Trees (1957), and The Nonexistent Knight (1959)—brought him international acclaim. Other important works include Cosmicomics (1965, tr. 1968), Italian Folktales (1956, tr. 1980), and If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979, tr. 1981).
See his autobiographical essays in The Road to San Giovanni (tr. 1993), and other autobiographical writings in Hermit in Paris (tr. 2003); M. Wood, ed., Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941–1985 (2013); studies by S. M. Adler (1979) and I. T. Olken (1984).
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