Le citta invisibili
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Reed Johnson, "Union Station the platform for the opera 'Invisible Cities': The Industry opera company and L. Trascurabili segni del tempo alla sovraccoperta (con una piccola mancanza di 1 cm x 1 cm nella parte bassa del retro di sovraccoperta). At a 1983 conference held at Columbia University, Calvino himself stated that there is no definite end to Invisible Cities because "this book was made as a polyhedron, and it has conclusions everywhere, written along all of its edges. The matrix of eleven column themes and fifty-five subchapters (ten rows in chapters 1 and 9, five in all others) shows some interesting properties. These five-city cascades are displaced by one theme column to the right as one proceeds to the next chapter.
In the novel, the reader finds themselves playing a game with the author, wherein they must find the patterns hidden in the book. Sandra Barrera, "'Invisible Cities' is first release for The Industry’s new record label", Los Angeles Daily News, October 24, 2014. Julie Baumgardner, "In a Busy Train Station, a Postmodern Opera Takes Shape", The New York Times, October 29, 2014. Each description of each city is very short – often no more than a page – but, more importantly what Marco Polo describes is not the physical city he has seen but the impression that that city has made on him. He moves back and forth between the groups, while moving down the list, in a rigorous mathematical structure.
Calvino, in chapter 9, truncates the diagonal cascades in steps: Laudomia through Raissa is a cascade of four cities, followed by cascades of three, two, and one, necessitating ten cities in the final chapter. The performance could be heard by about 200 audience members, who wore wireless headphones and were allowed to move through the station at will. Un imperatore melanconico, un Kublai Khan che dopo aver conquistato il mondo ha perso ogni speranza di salvarlo dal suo lento sfacelo, ascolta dalla voce di un Marco Polo visionario le descrizioni di citta misteriose" (dalla sovraccoperta). Mark Swed, "Review: An inward tour through 'Invisible Cities'", Los Angeles Times, October 21, 2013. Each city is, of course, different and there is no connection between the different cities – no description of how they might relate to another city, no description of the journey between them.
This strict adherence to a mathematical pattern is characteristic of the Oulipo literary group to which Calvino belonged. Invisible Cities deconstructs an archetypal example of the travel literature genre, The Travels of Marco Polo, which depicts the eponymous Venetian merchant's journey across Asia and in Yuan China ( Mongol Empire). It seems to have been very much influenced by Dino Buzzati‘s Il deserto dei Tartari (The Tartar Steppe), with its images of strange, unreal desert cities.The reader can therefore play with the book's structure, and choose to follow one group or another, rather than reading the book in chronological chapters. This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.