chapter  12
Crossing Borders: Calvino in the Footprints of Collodi
Pages 14

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.