First Edition of Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveler; Signed by Him

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If On A Winter Night’s A Traveler.


Item Number: 44082

New York: Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich, 1981.

First edition in English of Calvino’s avant-garde masterpiece. Octavo, original half. Signed by Italo Calvino on the half-title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing. Translated from the Italian by William Weaver.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another. In a 1985 interview with Gregory Lucente, Calvino stated If on a winter's night a traveler was "clearly" influenced by the writings of Vladimir Nabokov. The book was also influenced by the author's membership in the literary group Oulipo. The structure of the text is said to be an adaptation of the structural semiology of A.J. Greimas. In a letter written to critic Lucio Lombardo Radice dated November 13, 1979 (Italo Calvino: letters, 1941–1985; Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 501), Calvino mentions Bulgakov, Kawabata, Tanizaki, Rulfo, Arguedas, Borges and Chesterton as having influenced, in various ways, the narrative style of the ten stories that comprise the book. The Telegraph included the novel in a list of "100 novels everyone should read" in 2009, describing it as a "playful postmodernist puzzle."

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