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

  • Profile in The New Yorker
    Profile in The New Yorker

    I had the pleasure of being profiled by my favorite magazine, The New Yorker.  Read the article here.

  • Remembering a trail blazer - Francis Crick
    Remembering a trail blazer - Francis Crick

    Francis Crick, one of the premier biologists of the 20th century, passed away July 28, 2004, in San Diego. On his 88th birthday last June, I brought him chocolates and spent the day with him in his home in La Jolla.

  • Discovering amulets inside the mummy
    Discovering amulets inside the mummy

    I recently posted about my scanning of a 3,000 year old mummy, Neskhons. Now, by analyzing the data in several different ranges of electron density, I've found something unexpected: inside the mummy's torso are 4 small funerary amulets.

  • The Neuroscience of Engagement
    The Neuroscience of Engagement

    Why don't we do what we know we should?  Here's a talk I gave at Stanford Medical School telling why, and what to do about it.

Newsflashes

How the Internet will save civilization

David's iPad app "Why the Net Matters, or Six Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization" was recently called a "superbook" by the New York Times Magazine. For a taste of the argument, read David's article in WIRED or watch a video of his talk at the Long Now Foundation. Don't have an iPad? The manuscript is now available as an eBook.

Why Brain Science Matters

Why should the US invest in brain science? See David's opinion in the New York Times.

Sum on Radiolab

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

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


Coming in 2014