Presentation Title

Creation, the Word, and Relationships: “The Void” and Implicit Christian Theology in Calvino’s Later Fiction

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

italian, 20th century, fiction, italo calvino, christianity, creation, relationship, void, word, language, literature, morality, theology

Department

International Studies and Languages

Major

Italian Studies

Abstract

In Italo Calvino’s fiction, the concept of “void” is frequently mentioned, yet its definition remains ambiguous, shifting from the void before the Big Bang, to the void of the writer’s blank page, to the existential void within human beings. Furthermore, Calvino writes from an agnostic standpoint, yet much of his thought seems to be linked to Christian themes such as the beginning of the world, the meaning of the word—understood as language, literature or reason—and human relationship. In this paper/presentation, Calvino’s later fiction (1965-1985) is analyzed for instances of the concept of void, in an attempt to identify one or multiple meanings of it, and for instances of the aforementioned Christian concepts, in order to investigate possible interrelationships between the two subcategories of his thought. Calvino’s concept of the void is closely tied to these Christian concepts. While Calvino shares some elements of Communism and of Eastern philosophy, much of his thought on the Christian concepts is consistent with the teachings of the early church fathers on the same subjects.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Fiona Stewart

Funding Source or Research Program

Not Identified

Presentation Session

Session D

Location

Rockwell Academic Center 175

Start Date

3-4-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2015 4:15 PM

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Apr 3rd, 4:00 PM Apr 3rd, 4:15 PM

Creation, the Word, and Relationships: “The Void” and Implicit Christian Theology in Calvino’s Later Fiction

Rockwell Academic Center 175

In Italo Calvino’s fiction, the concept of “void” is frequently mentioned, yet its definition remains ambiguous, shifting from the void before the Big Bang, to the void of the writer’s blank page, to the existential void within human beings. Furthermore, Calvino writes from an agnostic standpoint, yet much of his thought seems to be linked to Christian themes such as the beginning of the world, the meaning of the word—understood as language, literature or reason—and human relationship. In this paper/presentation, Calvino’s later fiction (1965-1985) is analyzed for instances of the concept of void, in an attempt to identify one or multiple meanings of it, and for instances of the aforementioned Christian concepts, in order to investigate possible interrelationships between the two subcategories of his thought. Calvino’s concept of the void is closely tied to these Christian concepts. While Calvino shares some elements of Communism and of Eastern philosophy, much of his thought on the Christian concepts is consistent with the teachings of the early church fathers on the same subjects.