Italo Calvino Quotes

Italo Calvino Quotes

The things that the novel does not say are necessarily more numerous than those it does say and only a special halo around what is written can give the illusion that you are reading also what is not written.

The struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.

I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

Signs form a language, but not the one you think you know.

This is the paradox of the power of literature: it seems that only when it is persecuted does it show its true powers, challenging authority, whereas in our permissive society it feels that it is being used merely to create the occasional pleasing contrast to the general ballooning of verbiage.

I am the man who comes and goes between the bar and the telephone booth. Or, rather:that man is called 'I' and you know nothing else about him, just as this station is called only 'station' and beyond it there exists nothing except the unanswered signal of a telephone ringing in a dark room of a distant city.

If one wanted to depict the whole thing graphically, every episode, with its climax, would require a three-dimensional, or, rather, no model: every experience is unrepeatable. What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.

Falsehood is never in words; it is in things.

It's better not to know authors personally, because the real person never corresponds to the image you form of him from reading his books.

what matters is not the enclosure of the work within a harmonious figure, but the centrifugal force produced by it - a plurality of language as a guarantee of a truth that is not merely partial.

A gentleman, my Lord Father, is such whether he is on earth or on the treetops

Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be.

Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along its own trajectory and immediately disappears.

Don't you ever get tired of reading?" she asked. "You could hardly be called good company! Don't you know that, with women, you're supposed to make conversation?" she added; her half smile was perhaps meant to be ironic, though to Amedeo, who at that moment would have paid anything rather than give up his novel, it seemed downright threatening.

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. …Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!… I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!

Today each of you is the object of the other’s reading, one reads in the other the unwritten story.

Reading is solitude.

The moment that counts most for me is the one that precedes reading. At times a title is enough to kindle in me the desire for a book that perhaps does not exist.

Her breast was young, the nipples rosy. Cosimo just grazed it with his lips, before Viola slid away over the branches as if she were flying, with him clambering after her, and that skirt of hers always in his face

That wish to enter into an elusive element which had urged Cosimo into the trees, was still working now inside him unsatisfied, making him long for a more intimate link, a relationship which would bind him to each leaf and twig and feather and flutter.

We'll make an army in the trees and bring the earth and the people on it to their senses.

...the world was trying to change its old face and show its underbelly of earth and roots.

Wciąż są w ruchu te same przedmioty, przechodząc z jednego obozu do innego, czy z jednego pułku do innego w tym samym obozie; czymże zresztą innym jest w ogóle wojna, jeśli nie przechodzeniem z rąk do rąk dobytku coraz bardziej sponiewieranego?

Wojna to trochę rzeźnia, a trochę rutyna i nie ma co czepiać się zanadto szczegółów.

Jego [cesarza] zadanie to prowadzić tę wojnę, która w danej chwili się toczy, i co najwyżej pomyśleć jeszcze o następnej.

To fall asleep like a bird. To have a wing you could stick your head under, a
world of branches suspended above the earthly world, barely glimpsed down
below, muffled and remote. Once you begin rejection your present state, there is no knowing where you can arrive.

...eyes that, like those of children, look at an eternal present without forgiveness.

It was the love which the hunter has for living things, and which he can only express by aiming his gun at them ...

Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined?

Nobody these days holds the written word in such high esteem as police states do.

Do you believe that every story must have a beginning and an end?" In ancient times a story could end only in two ways: having passed all the tests, the hero and the heroine married, or else they died. The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.

To fall in the void as I fell: none of you knows what that means… I went down into the void, to the most absolute bottom conceivable, and once there I saw that the extreme limit must have been much, much farther below, very remote, and I went on falling, to reach it.

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