from Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler:
a local legend, it tells of an old Indian known as the Father of Stories, a man of immemorial age, blind and illiterate, who uninterruptedly tells stories that take place in countries and times completely unknown to him. The phenomenon has brought expeditions of anthropologists and parapsychologists; it has been determined that many novels published by famous authors had been recited word for word by the wheezing voice of the Father of Stories several years before their appearance. The old Indian, according to some, is the universal source of narrative material, the primordial magma from which the individual manifestations of each writer develop; accoridng to others, a seer who, thanks to his consumption of hallucinatory mushrooms, manages to establish commuincation with the inner world of the strongest visionary temperaments and pick up their psychic waves; according to still others he is the reincarnation of Homer, of the storyteller of the Arabian Nights, of the author of the Popol Vuh, as well as of Alexandre Dumas and James Joyce; but there are those who reply that Homer has no need of metempsychosis, since he never died and has continued through the millennia living and composing, the author, besides the couple of poems usually attributed to him, also of many of the most famous narratives known to man...(117)
Calvino, Italo. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Co, 1981. Translated by William Weaver.
return to Calvino and textual unity