What-some may ask-do Carlo Lorenzini , better known as Co l lod i
(1826-1890), and Italo Calvino (1923-1985) have in common?
B o m a century earlier than Calvino, Co l lod i was a moderately edu-
cated, conservative. Catholic, Florentine journeyman, part-time journal-
ist, soldier, and gambler, who began writing romance novels, second-rate
comedies, and a series of elementary school textbooks on commission
only to keep up with his gambling debts, yet he produced the first and
most influential Italian literary work for children. Calvino, on the other
hand, was a true man of letters, a freethinking, Ligurian, disillusioned
Marxis t intellectual, who started his career as a polit ically committed
neorealist writer, then became a prestigious editor, reviewer, translator,
and author of some of Italy's best and most controversial experimental
narratives this century.