Love Italo Calvino? Me too. Listen to a BBC Radio documentary.

"Were I to choose an auspicious image for the new millennium, I would choose [...] the sudden agile leap of the poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times - noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring - belongs to the realm of death, like a cemetery for rusty old cars." - Italo Calvino

b01jg8nk

The neuroscientist and writer David Eagleman explores the invention, fantasy and flights of the imagination taken by one of Italy's foremost writers, Italo Calvino.

One of the 20th Century's great experimenters, Calvino consistently pushed the boundaries of literary form. Perhaps most famously in his novel 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller...' - a book composed of the first chapters of other novels.

Calvino drew on a vast range of influences as diverse as tarot cards, astrophysics and the Brother's Grimm, drawing them together into his playful, literary worlds. His writing style danced from works of fantasy and science fiction to folktale and neo-realism - constantly resisting being defined by any single genre. Relishing the challenge to push the boundaries of literature, where he remained a quietly rebellious force until his death in 1985.

In this programme we hear from translator and Calvino scholar Professor Martin McLaughlin, the writer and academic Marina Warner and his friend Adam Pollock, amongst others. Alongside readings by Simon Russell Beale and archive of Calvino himself.

See also: Between the Ears: Invisible Cities, which explores Calvino's view of urban life.

Produced by Eleanor McDowall

A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 3.

Listen to the program here:

Leave a comment

From the Blog

  • Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization
    Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization

    Watch a talk I gave at the Long Now Foundation about my hopes that the advent of the internet will mitigate threats that brought down previous civilizations.

  • BrainCheck
    BrainCheck

    How can you rapidly detect whether someone has a concussion? I've just launched a new company, BrainCheck, that uses tablets and neuroscience to find out.  

  • Possibilianism at PopTech
    Possibilianism at PopTech

    I recently spoke at PopTech on the limits of science, the problems of false dichotomies, and my new movement of possibilianism. See the video.

  • Brain Time
    Brain Time

    The days of thinking of time as a river—evenly flowing, always advancing—are over. Time perception, just like vision, is a construction of the brain.

Newsflashes

Sum on Radiolab

Listen to David discussing Sum -- and actor Jeffrey Tambor reading stories from the book -- on WNYC's Radiolab.

McGovern Award for excellence in Communication

David was honored to receive the 2014 John J. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Education from the American Medical Writers' Assocation. Noted past recipients include authors Oliver Sacks and Abraham Verghese.

Barnes and Noble Best Book

Barnes and Noble selected SUM as one of the Best Books of the Year.

You are here:   HomeBlogLove Italo Calvino? Me too. Listen to a BBC Radio documentary.


Coming in 2014