Public Lecture by Prof Martin McLaughlin (University of Oxford), Tuesday October 1

‘Calvino, Eco and the transforming power of world literature’, Prof Martin McLaughlin (University of Oxford), Tuesday October 1, 5.30pm, Monash Caulfield Campus S/S230. (See campus map: http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/maps/2-Caulfieldcolour.pdf)

Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco wrote many essays on world literature, so much so that they would both have been major literary critics even if they had not written any novels.  Both authors were also influenced by many non-Italian writers in their creative works.  However, the way they interpreted and were inspired by texts from other literatures was different.  This seminar seeks to compare these two major Italian writers in terms of both their criticism of world literature and the different ways their fiction was transformed by it.  What emerges is Eco’s privileging of medieval texts as opposed to Calvino’s love for Ariosto, and in the modern era their differing reactions to major figures such as Joyce and Borges.  What they have in common is their capacity to draw creative inspiration even from texts that are very remote from their own poetics.

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