(Click for larger image)

Calvino, Italo (Translated by Alfred MacAdam) & Various Authors. FANTASTIC TALES: VISIONARY AND EVERYDAY. New York City, NY: Pantheon Books, 1997. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 586 pages. Fine/Fine.

Collection of "phantasmagorical" tales. The companion volume to the author's "Italian Folktales", this magnificent collection is edited with an Introduction by Italo Calvino. Presents 26 classic tales of fantasy and the supernatural by European and American masters of the distinctively 19th-century genre (it enjoyed the same status as the novel and was considered superior to the short story by readers). Calvino's selections are both enthralling and frightening: Hans Christian Andersen, Honore de Balzac, Nathaniel Hawthorne, E. T. A. Hoffmann (his wonderful "The Sandman", which Neil Gaiman has re-interpreted, modernized, and made even more haunting), Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. G. Wells, among many others, are all represented here. Although ostensibly a collection of 19th-century works, Calvino's real aim is to show how mainstream literature might yet be saved and revived. A committed late-Modernist writer, Calvino drew enormous inspiration from both the folk and fantasy literary traditions, one demotic and oral, the other hieratic and written. He saw them as vibrant, alternative sources for modern literature, which he felt had been hijacked by literary theorists and academics with their impenetrable, circuitous, and closed mind games that have maliciously, vindictively, and very nearly destroyed literature itself (those who can write, do; those who cannot, teach). If Jorge Luis Borges, the one Modernist precursor who can be fruitfully compared to Italo Calvino, were asked, he would surely have enthusiastically collaborated on this Borgesian project. "As it relates to our sensibility today, the supernatural element at the heart of these stories always appears freighted with meaning, like the revolt of the unconscious, the repressed, the forgotten. In this we see the modern dimension of The Fantastic, the reason for its triumphant resurgence in our times" (Italo Calvino). A "must-have" title for Italo Calvino and Modern First collectors. This title has been out-of-print as a hardcover for a very long time even though it went into multiple subsequent printings and is now highly collectible. This is one of very few copies of the First American Edition still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. A very scarce copy thus. The greatest Italian writer of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER ITALO CALVINO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0679415262. $50.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on December 14, 2017.