Approaches to Teaching the Works of Italo Calvino

  • Editor: Franco Ricci
  • Pages: vi & 159 pp.
  • Published: 2013
  • ISBN: 9781603291248 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781603291231 (Cloth)

“The volume’s readability and bibliographic and pedagogical detail and each essay’s careful framework render the volume valuable for nonspecialists, for Italianists, and for Calvino specialists, too.”

—Tommasina Gabriele, Wheaton College, Massachusetts

Italo Calvino, whose works reflect the major literary and cultural trends of the second half of the twentieth century, is known for his imagination, humor, and technical virtuosity. He explores topics such as neorealism, folktale, fantasy, and social and political allegory and experiments with narrative style and structure. Students take delight in Calvino’s wide-ranging and inventive work, whether in Italian courses or in courses in comparative or world literature, literary criticism, cultural studies, philosophy, or even architecture.

Given the range of his writing, teaching Calvino can seem a daunting task. This volume aims to help instructors develop creative and engaging classroom strategies. Part 1, “Materials,” presents an overview of Calvino’s writings, nearly all of which are available in English translation, as well as critical works and online resources. The essays in part 2, “Approaches,” focus on general themes and cultural contexts, address theoretical issues, and provide practical classroom applications. Contributors describe strategies for teaching Calvino that are as varied as his writings, whether having students study narrative theory through If on a winter’s night a traveler, explore literary genre with Cosmicomics, improve their writing using Six Memos for the Next Millennium, or read Mr. Palomar in a general education humanities course.

Douglas Basford
Eugenio Bolongaro
Anna Botta
JoAnn Cannon
Rocco Capozzi
Natasha V. Chang
Julia M. Cozzarelli
Andrea Dini
John Domini
Joseph Francese
Rita Gagliano
Giulia Guarnieri
Carol Lazzaro-Weis
Massimo Lollini
Andrew Martino
Guy P. Raffa
Susan Rogers
Robert Rushing
Dean Swinford

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Franco Ricci

The Instructor’s Library

Works by Italo Calvino

Primary Texts

Translations in English

Calvino and the Internet

Andrea Dini

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Introduction

Historical Contexts

The Figure of the Intellectual in Calvino’s Early Fiction

Eugenio Bolongaro

Calvino’s Essays

JoAnn Cannon

Calvino’s Scientific Humanism

Guy P. Raffa

Intellectual Contexts

Open Encyclopedias: Teaching Calvino’s Works from a Comparative Perspective

Anna Botta

From Fiction to Theories: Calvino’s Art of Narration and Literary Theories

Rocco Capozzi

Proceed with Caution: Teaching Symbolism and Intertextuality in Calvino’s Fantasy Novels

Andrew Martino

Autobiography, History, and Writing in Calvino: Toward an Ethics of the Subject

Massimo Lollini

Readerly Expectations: Identification and Fantasy in Calvino’s Experimental Fiction

Robert Rushing

Reading Calvino’s Women

Carol Lazzaro-Weis

Classroom Contexts

Why Read Calvino? What We Tell Our Italian Language and Literature Students

Natasha V. Chang

Reading, Writing, Desire, and Closure: Teaching Calvino to Undergraduates in Italian

Julia M. Cozzarelli

Teaching Il castello dei destini incrociati: An Intuitive Approach

Rita Gagliano

Calvino, Translations, and Translatability

Giulia Guarnieri

Teaching Calvino in Creative Writing Classes

John Domini

Using Mr. Palomar to Question Received Truths in a General Education Course in the Humanities

Joseph Francese

Through the Eyes of Another: Text as Visual Representation

Susan Rogers

The Invisible Monster: Calvino and the Contemporary City

Dean Swinford

“Then She Saw the Surprise”: Teaching Writing with Six Memos for the Next Millennium and Difficult Loves

Douglas Basford

Notes on Contributors

Works Cited

Index