“The Cloven Viscount” comes to Iranian bookstores

July 15, 2022 - 18:46

TEHRAN – “The Cloven Viscount” by Italian writer Italo Calvino has recently been published in Persian by Borj in Tehran.

Gholamreza Emami is the translator of the story first published in 1952.

In this fantastically macabre tale, the separate halves of a nobleman split in two by a cannonball go on to pursue their own independent adventures.

In a battle against the Turks, Viscount Medardo of Terralba is bisected lengthwise by a cannonball. 

One half of him returns to his feudal estate and takes up a lavishly evil life. Soon the other, virtuous half appears. 

When the two halves become rivals for the love of the same woman, there’s no telling the lengths each will go to win.

This deliciously bizarre novella is Calvino at his most devious and winning.

Other works by Calvino have previously been translated into Persian by veteran scholars, including Lili Golestan, Reza Qeisarieh and Mehdi Sahabi.

Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. 

His best-known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels “Invisible Cities” (1972) and “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” (1979).

His style is not easy to classify; much of his writing has an air reminiscent to that of fantastical fairy tales (“Our Ancestors”, “Cosmicomics”), although sometimes his writing is more realistic and in the scenic mode of observation (“Difficult Loves”). 

Some of his writing has been called postmodern, reflecting on literature and the act of reading, while some has been labeled magical realist, others fables, others simply modern. 

He wrote, “My working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all, I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.”

Photo: Front cover of the Persian edition of Italo Calvino’s book “The Cloven Viscount”.

MMS/YAW

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