Calvino, Italo (b. Oct. 15, 1923, Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba--d. Sept. 19, 1985, Siena, Italy)
Italian journalist, short-story writer, and novelist, whose whimsical and imaginative fables made him one of the most important Italian fiction writers of the 20th century.
Calvino left Cuba for Italy in his youth. He joined the Italian Resistance during World War II and after the war settled in Turin, obtaining his degree in literature from the University of Turin while working for the communist periodical L'Unita and for Einaudi publishing house. From 1959 to 1966 he edited, with Elio Vittorini, the left-wing magazine Il Menabo di letteratura.
Calvino's work in the Resistance inspired two of his early books of fiction, the Neorealistic novel Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno (1947; The Path to the Nest of Spiders) and the collection of stories entitled Ultimo viene il corvo (1949; Adam, One Afternoon, and Other Stories ).
Calvino turned decisively to fantasy and allegory in the 1950s, producing the three fantastic tales--Il visconte dimezzato (1952; "The Cloven Viscount,"), Il barone rampante (1957; The Baron in the Trees), and Il cavaliere inesistente (1959; "The Nonexistent Knight")--that brought him international acclaim. His Fiabe italiane (1956; Italian Folktales) assembled a collection of traditional tales rendered in regional dialects.Among Calvino's later works of fantasy is Le cosmicomiche (1965; Cosmicomics), an engaging collection of stream-of-consciousness narratives that treat the creation and evolution of the universe. In the later novels Le citta invisibili (1972; Invisible Cities), Il castello dei destini incrociati (1973; Castle of Crossed Destinies,The ), and Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore (1979; If on a Winter's Night a Traveler), Calvino used playfully innovative structures and shifting viewpoints. His later Una pietra sopra: Discorsi di letteratura e societa (1980; The Uses of Literature) is a collection of essays he wrote for Il Menabo.