Reading Classics and Biographies to Commemorate the Centenary of the Birth of Legendary Writer Calvino
Workers Daily – China Industry Network reporter Chen Junyu
2023 marks the centenary of the birth of the legendary Italian writer Italo Calvino. To celebrate this milestone, Yilin Press has released the simplified Chinese version of “Living in the Trees: A Biography of Calvino.” This meticulously researched biography provides readers with a glimpse into the life and works of the influential writer. With its inclusion of diaries, letters, private memories, contemporary articles, and over 300 precious images, some of which were previously unseen, “Living in the Trees” offers an intimate perspective on Calvino’s life, made possible by his widow, Esther Calvino.
Calvino himself acknowledged the deeply personal nature of a biography. He once wrote, “Biography or personal information is extremely private content, and publishing this information is like conducting psychological analysis.” “Living in the Trees: The Biography of Calvino” not only serves as a comprehensive account of an intellectual’s life, but also acts as a guide to understanding the framework of Calvino’s literary works, exploring the influences and experiences that shaped his unique writing style.
Yilin Publishing House holds exclusive copyright to many of Calvino’s works, and since 2001, they have been actively translating and introducing his writings to Chinese readers. Over the years, the collection of Calvino’s works has grown and evolved, with regular updates and improvements. In honor of Calvino’s centenary, a new edition featuring his most celebrated works has been curated and released.
Reflecting on Calvino’s creative career, certain works stand out as representative of his unique storytelling abilities. His debut novel, “The Path to the Spider’s Nest,” was published in 1947 and marked the beginning of his exploration of the infinite possibilities of narrative art. From 1952 to 1959, Calvino completed the highly regarded “Our Ancestors” trilogy, which includes “The Divided Viscount,” “The Baron in the Trees,” and “The Non-Existent Knight.” In 1963, he published the collection of short stories, “Marcovaldo,” which showcased his versatility as a writer. One of Calvino’s most influential works, “Invisible Cities,” was published in 1972 and remains a testament to his profound imagination.
Calvino’s literary style was described as embodying “lightness, speed, precision, image, and complexity,” defining the artistic landscape of the new millennium. He garnered immense respect from his contemporaries, and the famous American writer John Updike once said, “Borges, Marquez, and Calvino are also dreaming perfect dreams for us. Among the three, Calvino is the warmest and brightest.” Engaging with his literary works allows readers to immerse themselves in Calvino’s world, filled with timeless classics and fantastic imagination.
As we approach the centenary of Italo Calvino’s birth, readers are encouraged to delve into his timeless classics and captivating biographies. Through his writing, Calvino continues to inspire and captivate audiences, allowing them to rejoice in the warmth and brilliance of his literary creations.