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A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.
– Italo Calvino
The human race is a zone of living things that should be defined by tracing its confines.
What is modern art but the attempt to pinpoint vague, incorporeal, inexpressible sensations? What is modern art, I would add, but the most solemn pile of nonsense that ever appeared on Earth?
An exotic birthplace on its own is not informative of anything.
I’m terrified of writing at night, for then I can’t sleep. So I start slowly, slowly writing in the morning and go on into the late afternoon.
Every morning I tell myself, ‘Today has to be productive’ – and then something happens that prevents me from writing.
I think today that politics registers very late things which society manifests through other channels, and I feel that often politics distorts and mystifies reality.
Folktales are real.
Traveling, you realize that differences are lost: each city takes to resembling all cities, places exchange their form, order, distances, a shapeless dust cloud invades the continents.
Turin is a city which entices a writer towards vigor, linearity, style. It encourages logic, and through logic it opens the way towards madness.
I’m a regular guy; I like well-defined outlines. I’m old-fashioned, bourgeois.
I write… sonnets… and writing sonnets is boring. You have to find rhymes; you have to write hendecasyllables; so after a while, I get bored and my drawer is overflowing with unfinished short poems.
Thoughtful lightness can make frivolity seem dull and heavy.
Man is simply the best chance we know of that matter has had of providing itself with information about itself.
I will revolutionise art and the world. Hurrah!
I do not have any political commitments anymore. I’m politically a total agnostic; I’m one of the few writers in Italy who refuses to be identified with a specific political party.
Reading is a possession, a march toward a possession.
Every day I tell myself that reading newspapers is a waste of time, but then… I cannot do without them. They are like a drug.
The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.
I have spent more time with other people’s books than with my own. I do not regret it.
Sometimes I try to concentrate on the story I would like to write, and I realize that what interests me is something else entirely, or, rather, not anything precise but everything that does not fit in what I ought to write.
New York is a fabled city, a fabulous city.
One writes fables in periods of oppression.
It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.
The public figure of the writer, the writer-character, the ‘personality-cult’ of the author, are all becoming for me more and more intolerable in others, and consequently in myself.
Of course, I’m of the generation that grew up with Hemingway and Faulkner as strong influences.
The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will continue to be born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities begins.
For the critic, the author does not exist; only a certain number of writings exist.
My university work was not central to my education.
A tale is born from an image, and the image extends and creates a network of meanings that are always equivocal.