In this thesis I present three readings of Italo Calvino’s later novels: Invisible Cities (1972), If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979), and Mr. Palomar (1983). My primary aim is to defend Calvino against dominant scholarly interpretations that position him as a Postmodern nihilist, a literary trickster interested solely in toying with the mechanics of language. My analysis of Calvino’s work re-envisions him as a special breed of Postmodernist concerned with humanity’s ability to create spaces for meaning in spite of an indifferent cosmos. Drawing from psychoanalytic theory, cognitive science, analytic philosophy, and phenomenology, I synthesize my own critical lens to demonstrate Calvino’s ecstatic faith in human creativity. I claim that Calvino’s later novels contain a fundamentally ethical message: they call on us to live our lives with the intensity and vigilance of the artist, to see the world as a landscape for the collective life of our minds, to endure “the inferno of the living” through acts of creation.
Knowles, Dominick J., "A Redemption of Meaning in Three Novels by Italo Calvino" (2015). English Honors Papers. 2.