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Italo Calvino: an unknown novel

Paris, Italian Cultural Institute, 23 November 2023, 7pm.

Presentation of the unpublished novel I giovani del Po (Les jeunes du Pô), translated and prefaced by Martin Rueff, Cahiers de l’Hôtel de Galliffet, the correspondence (Le métier d’écrire, edited by Martin Rueff, translation by Christophe Mileschi and Martin Rueff, Gallimard), and the volume Liguries, translated and prefaced by Martin Rueff, published by Nous.

The centenary of Italo Calvino’s birth is shaping up to be a year of surprises in French bookshops: a large Gallimard volume containing most of the writer’s correspondence from 1940 to 1985; a collection of prose and poetry dedicated to his native Liguria; and a little-known novel, I giovani del Po, which has never before been published as a separate volume, either in Italy or elsewhere: an absolute novelty that Cahiers de l’Hôtel de Galliffet is publishing exclusively.

Between 1948 and 1951, Calvino cultivated the ambition of writing a novel about the working class and industrial civilisation. After abandoning several drafts along the way, he completed a short novel, I giovani del Po, but was not satisfied with the result and decided not to publish it. Despite its author’s harsh judgement, I giovani del Po deserves to be known by Calvino’s readers, who will find in it many of his major themes (work, love, the city, nature, politics and the search for harmony between oneself and the world). Calvino’s Po is like Pavese’s hill: a place, colours and people, a dream into which to melt, a destiny.

With the participation of Christophe Mileschi and Martin Rueff.

The debate will be moderated by Paolo Grossi (Cahiers de l’Hôtel de Galliffet).

Extracts from the texts will be read by Fosco Perinti.