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

  • Philip Pullman
    Philip Pullman

    I've had the good fortune to collaborate on stage a couple of times with author Philip Pullman.

  • Time to End the War on Drugs?
    Time to End the War on Drugs?

    To liberalise or prohibit?  I recently joined Eliot Spitzer, Julian Assange, Vicente Fox, Russell Brand, Richard Branson and several others for an online debate.

  • Schwarzenegger on Incognito
    Schwarzenegger on Incognito

    What a wonderful shot of caffeine it was to find my childhood hero lauding my book in the New York Times.

  • Why I am a Possibilian
    Why I am a Possibilian

    Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnosticism, is often an uninteresting stance in which a person simply questions whether his traditional religious story is true or not true. I call myself a possibilian. Find out why.

Newsflashes

Eagleman and Brian Eno bring Sum to Sydney Opera House

In June, 2009, David Eagleman collaborated with musician/producer Brian Eno to perform a musical reading of Sum to 1,000 people at the Sydney Opera House. In May of 2010 they performed together again to 1,200 people at the Brighton Dome in England. Stay tuned for further performances.

SUM at the Royal Opera House

ROHSUM has been turned into an opera at the Royal Opera House in London (Composer: Max Richter, Director: Wayne McGregor). The London Evening Standard hails the opera as "immersive, meditative and sweetly fascinating". Read about the background of the collaboration in Wired.

New York Times bestseller

IncognitoA 26 week New York Times bestseller, Incognito was named a Best Book of the Year by both Amazon and Goodreads. For a taste of the book, see a review in the Wall Street Journal, listen to a conversation on NPR's Fresh Air, or watch a video dialog with Wired Magazine. Reading Incognito now? We'd love to hear feedback!

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


Coming Soon