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.

  • 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.

  • New Scientist time story
    New Scientist time story

    New Scientist magazine recently featured my time perception research as their cover story. 

  • The science of de- and re-humanization
    The science of de- and re-humanization

    Why do groups of people inflict violence on unarmed neighbors? (Germany, Rwanda, Darfur, Nanking....). Here's the neuroscience point of view.

Newsflashes

Barnes and Noble Best Book

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

Sum named Book of the Year by New Scientist

Sum was the only book of fiction in New Scientist magazine's selection of Best Books of 2009.

The secret life of the lab

Want to know more about the inner workings of a neuroscience lab? Watch a video profile of David and his students on NOVA Science Now.
Nova Science Now

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


Coming in 2014