Keynotes- Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino’s was an Italian journalist, explorer and writer that made lots of stories and novels. His best-known ones were ‘One Ancestors’, ‘The Cosmicomics’ and ‘Invisible cities.’ The novel that we analysed today was the book ‘Invisible Cities’ which was published in 1972.

We learnt that the cities Calvino speaks of in his novels do not exist on the world map. He has created fictional places, but used them to explain life from a different perspective. One of the cities he had made up was Hypatia, “A city of beautiful blue lagoons, but where crabs were biting the eyes of the suicides, stones tied around their necks.” This description starts off showing the beautiful elegance of the lagoon in the city and then moves to a different dimension, describing the pain and suicide offers to how we see things. We learnt that each city shows us a different perspective of life and give us new experiences.

Another example, Argia, “a city with earth instead of air.” He shows another complexity that is part of the city, an element of pure sensation. We learnt that Calvino also shows a deeper meaning within his novels. I began realizing that he wasn’t just talking about the cities, but talks about imagination, concepts and ideas. It seems like he contemplates life and questions the world. He believes that deep down subconsciously people don’t want to acknowledge certain aspects of how the way of life is. For example, people tend to want to ignore the inevitable truth that we all die, that we feel pain and see the darkness within ourselves. He talks about waking us up and facing the world with open eyes.

Calvino’s cities aren’t like all cities; they aren’t just constructed of bricks, metal or wood. The higher meaning is that, they are constructed with ideas and creativity. The simple question that Calvino seems to be asking is ‘How should we live? He explains his views through his cities, giving them a symbolic meaning.

I feel like the purpose of this lecture was to show us that we shouldn’t be afraid to keep learning and thriving throughout our capabilities. To take what life gives us, learn from it and to always keep moving forward, never looking back. He talks about certain rules and regulations shouldn’t limit us, from achieving being the person we wish to be. Calvino was a poetic and iconic man, known never to care about what the end result would be, but to learn from the process of the present.


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