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Exploring the Postmodern Techniques in Italo Calvino’s “If on a winter’s night a traveler

Dec 17, 2022 | 0 comments

Dec 17, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments

The difficulty in defining Postmodernism literature is due to its novel techniques, versatile ideas, and big changes from the traditional narrative writing. “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is basically a novel about reading experiences and how someone thinks and feels about reading. When Idon’t use first person was reading scholarly assessments about postmodern literature, I found that Calvino’s novel of 1979 “If on a winter’s night a traveler” definitely is a work that is worth examining. While showing us the features of the postmodern fiction, a novel at times can prove to be an undertaking that is both controversial, traditional as well as challenging in nature. This novel has proven to be both interesting and also to be an innovative work in postmodern fiction circles. “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is a book written by Italo Calvino. Since it deviates from the obvious objectivity provided by the omniscient external narration normally found in nearly all traditional books (Calvino and William 13-18). All through chapter two and subsequent chapters, Calvino uses a second person viewpoint where the narrator for the readers of the novel are the key characters in his plot. He constantly uses the pronoun “you” in making the reader feel as he is part of what is happening and he points out a direct relationship between the author, the text, and the readers. Much self-reflection also is found in nearly all postmodern novels and it is a are well-known attribute they possess. Calvino’s novel portrays numerous remarkable literary devices that use “key characteristics’’ postmodern fiction as illustrated in the parameters summarized by Tim Woods in Beginning postmodernism which was his publication (Woods, pp.65-66). This essay will describe some of the postmodern characteristics which are present in the Calvino novel, and also examine the author’s application and how various themes are executed. Good intro—work on making the thesis less descriptive and more persuasive.

The first postmodern device Calvino uses is known as metafiction. This type of writing was something I had not previously read about. Metafiction wants you to understand that what you are reading is not real and that the author is showing you how he has control over the characters. The author often tells the story in a way that shows you it they are totally made up. Calvino participates in a kind of combined narrative experiment in the beginning of his novel that he later explains as causing a “hyper novel” which is aimed at giving significance in a novel through the means of the concentrated form. In order to execute this chapter, twelve chapters were layered in the company of fragmented portions of the other novels that are outlined into the plotline; deviating within conceptual framework from the common crux (Weiss, pp.34-41). Use of metafiction by Calvino is a crucial role in the narrative of his work since he refers to the reader as “you.” This made it clear to the reader from the beginning of the first pages that they are experiencing “If on a winter’s night a traveler” within the metafictional framework: “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel If on a winter’s night a traveler.”cite source Through the blurring of the embedded texts and framing texts it appears that Calvino tries also to dissolve the disconnection between text of the narrative and the perceived reality. cite source Efforts at this narrative action perhaps are best demonstrated in chapter nine when Calvino gives the following remarks: “….You find yourself a prisoner of a system in which every aspect of life is counterfeit, a fake” (Calvino & William, pp.72-94).

Self-reflexivity has a presence all through this novel by Calvino. While the German Romantics theorized this, key works put this concept actually into motion reflecting this period.cite Calvino’s self-conscious writing is perceived to regularly question his narration, whereas at the same time, raises moderate amounts of satire and humor to demonstrate the poststructuralist view concerning reading over writing hierarchy; frequently through means of subversion and restating. Calvino once said that “the process of literary composition has been taken to pieces and reassembled; the decisive moment in literacy life is bound to be the act of reading”. Ludmilla, the “other” protagonist also conveys lack of interest in the writing act as she prefers to participate solely in the reading act (Calvino & William, pp.27-28).

Through the use of fragmented novel sections by Calvino that occurs in this novel, there excessive abolition of cultural divide of low and high cultures as described by Woods. While Calvino’s literary standpoint in works like this one at times have been expressed as highbrow, all introductory chapters found within the novel are to a mostly different in both plot and theme as well as in genre; Calvino combine everything from thriller, adventure, and mystery genres to classical fiction forms that are more traditional. The multiplicity of the storylines interspersed into the underlying narrative, presents another feature of the postmodern writing; multiple fictive selves. Every novel fragment all through the story shows a distinctive isolated narration plotline which advances the underlying story put this in your own words, and give specific examples(Nell & Cohen, pp.27-29). A definite intertextuality sense exists between the narratives, while all together there is a sense of pastiche, or imitation of style, that guides Ludmilla as well as the reader through the numerous fiction stories which are all disconnected and unfinished.

The identity notion found in Calvino’s novel also is an interesting aspect. To a large extent, the story points to questioning the writing act itself as well as questions of the ontological uncertainty. Using these narrative stories which have no ending demonstrates a postmodern situation in literature. This seems to strengthen Calvino’s point of view that the world’s reality is basically tied to meaning by the concepts of culture and language. It also appears that Calvino does not believe in the fact that reality may exist outside of culture and language in any way that is meaningful. This view illustrates the epistemological predicaments or the meaning of knowledge centered upon the reality of someone’s awareness. With these concerns brought forward, Calvino appears to replicate upon the literature as his own system of knowing or knowledge. It appear that Calvino expected to show in this work, together with his postmodern novel (1983) Mr. Palomar, a perception that this genre should stress involvement of the reader to obtain meaning(Calvino & William, pp.24-33).

There is a literacy complexity at play used by Calvino to disrupt narrative techniques and also bring them back to a more typical level. Even if the novel is entertaining to read, postmodern techniques at play generate a clever form of literacy game which is never completely satisfied for the reader, with the exception of the eventual resolution of the novel at the end. The way Calvino influences the reader’s judgement and tries to shape their opinions and feelings and then maintains them even to maybe beyond the reach of postmodern text. If you think about the printing error that puts the plot in motion then it is important to note that the real reader’s reading of “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is actually not disrupted by whichever error. In reality, their reading is disrupted by an intentional creative choice to end the text. Even the decision to end the novel truly does not reflect the reader’s experience. The final line is meant for the Reader: “Just a moment, I’ve almost finished “If on a winter’s night a traveler” by Italo Calvino.” (Calvino & William, pp.27) With the exception of that, for the actual reader this line is a deception: “I have not almost finished reading “If on a winter’s night a traveler.” I have completed it!” however, no, Calvino doesn’t let you escape that text as the reader.

As mentioned above, the reader and the text is altered by the creative choice of Calvino, manipulating us even when we agree that the text is independent of the author. However, maybe it is autonomy of the author specifically that imprisons Flannery of Calvino and, by means of extension, his readers. It is argued that the absence and impossibility is a postmodernity function, the readers relationship to an emasculated, absent author is irrevocable (Calvino & William, pp. 49).

“If on a winter’s night a traveler” is a complex and clever novel which works on various levels across numerous themes. The first as well as most apparent of these is the metafictional feature which questions people’s reality notion and its connection with the fictional or even “fake” in the postmodern world. There are also various other contemporary world aspects which show case the work like questions of identity, intertextuality, and originality (Calvino & William, pp.113). Uncertainty, complexity, frustration and confusion are all features of the contemporary world as seen and experienced by Calvino. Underlying in all of the themes, there is the sense of the ironic, intelligence and of humor and during the end Calvino’s work turns out to be a self-reflexive game which is very clever as we can see the author plays with us, the readers.

In Calvino’s novel, “If on a winter’s night a traveler” the impracticable event of the postmodernity is just like a prison. Practically all of the text, in the intratext or main narrative, is written from the viewpoint of men trying to conquer women. This is untruthful exactly once, when the Narrator describes the viewpoint of the Other Reader. (Calvino & William, pp.15). This must not be mistaken for Calvino’s endeavor to set free a female awareness from the male viewpoint in text. This alteration of the perception to a female from a male point of view is another approach in which the author and his supreme Narrator changes the Reader’s subjectivity. The Reader’s has a slower progression from suffered book-lover to the international detective as well as victim of textual Twilight Zone. Calvino says: “The you that was shifted to the Other Reader can, at any sentence be addressed to you again. You are always a possible you.” (Calvino & William, pp.16) Although it can be argued that this method shows up as postmodern and it passes social constructions of sexuality and gender, Calvino uses this device as well as others to make an impression upon the Reader that the weakness of their bias in its submissiveness or helplessness of the supreme Narrator’s (and, through this extension, Calvino), shows a gendered tone.

This novel by Calvino is subjective. It also illustrates postmodernism. Although the story may be over, the postmodernism tale continues. Postmodernism is mostly forward thinking, inventive and progressive. Sullivan states that the novel, “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is outstandingly untraditional in many aspects and is very progressive in this sense (Sullivan156). On the last page of “If on a winter’s night a traveler” Ludmilla asks you if you ever get tired of reading. The reply was that you have almost finished reading the novel (Calvino & William, pp.260). The postmodern journey begins and continues with that.

In various levels, “If on a winter’s night a traveler” struggles with philosophical postmodernity limitations. However, Calvino also recognizes the continual incomplete state that is a product of postmodernity, where the absent text is a framework as well as a device for experiencing the work. Calvino’s self-conscious exploration of reading as well as postmodern writing is multilayered. Using comparative regularity which is the same structures that are within the Calvino’s novel that show one or the other of the intra-text from the main narrative text. These are disrupted. Even as Calvino in this novel blurs the lines that are between the Reader and the reader plus the text, that it is not changed to be not jointly exclusive as intrinsically contradictory (Calvino & William, pp. 57-68).

Therefore, when the printer’s mistake interrupts the Reader’s reading of the Calvino’s novel, in reality it does not disrupt the reader, who continues confronting Calvino’s novel as a text created of absent texts (Calvino & William, pp.14). The reader is unavoidably involved within the impossibility of the novel, experiencing the text from the Reader’s viewpoint. The Reader is the character within the absent text. “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is the perfect example of the philosophical gray zone which Bewes keeps on referring to in his dissection of postmodernity.

In conclusion, what would seem to be a plea by Calvino to understand that mutual prison of the postmodernity is in reality a hoax, something of a ruse, or an appeal to the Stockholm syndrome? Through sexualizing and gendering, this novel by Calvino turns out to be highly ironic, and I read this is true of the majority of Calvino’s books. “If on a winter’s night a traveler” is a novel in disrepair, in pieces, and resides as a metaphor for the entire literature within the postmodernity genre.

Works Cited

Calvino, Italo, and William Weaver. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. Print.

McCabe, Nell H., and Samuel S. Cohen. Explicating the Incipits a Writer‘s Journey in Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Columbia, Mo.: U of Missouri–Columbia, 2010. Print.

Sullivan, Laura. “”Women Reading Calvino Reading Calvino.” Mississippi Philological

Association (1994): 156-169.

Weiss, Beno. Understanding Italo Calvino. Columbia, S.C.: U of South Carolina, 1993. Print.

Woods, Tim. Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: Manchester UP ;, 1999. Print.

Good start! Much of your paper seems to be heavily influenced by the Calvino/Weaver source. It is critical that you quote this information or put it completely in your own words; right now it is not a paraphrase. Use lots of specific examples from the novel to give examples of the postmodern techniques. Also, add the historical context of postmodernism.

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