Celebrating Italo Calvino

Lecture at Cooper Union, NYC
22 October 1999

New York's auspicious but notoriously designed Great Hall at Cooper Union was the location for a wonderful Italo Calvino event this Fall. Hosted by the delightful Giovanna Calvino, the author's daughter, the evening featured readings of his work spaced between short talks delivered by three great authors, all friends and admirers of Calvino: Umberto Eco, Carlos Fuentes, and Salman Rushdie.
It was certainly an evening to remember, and spirits were high. It was obvious that everyone involved had been deeply touched by Calvino's work, and there was an appropriate sense of humor mixed in with a very real sense of reverence. Each writer spoke about what Calvino had meant to them, sharing personal anecdotes and describing the effect Calvino's writing had on their formative years. The readings were all very engaging, with Wallace Shawn in particular bringing a charming sparkle to his account of a man who suddenly realizes that the whole world was an arbitrary creation. All in all, the evening was a fitting tribute to one of this century's most original -- and playful -- writers.

--Allen B. Ruch
23 October 1999

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