Died on this day – 19 September 1985


Italo Calvino (15 October 1923 – 19 September 1985) was an Italian 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). In the fermenting atmosphere that evolved into 1968’s cultural revolution he moved with his family to Paris in 1967, setting up home in a villa in the Square de Châtillon. Nicknamed L’ironique amusé, he was invited by Raymond Queneau in 1968 to join the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle) group of experimental writers where he met Roland Barthes, Georges Perec and Claude Lévi-Strauss all of whom influenced his later production.

Working on a sequel to If on a winter’s night to be entitled If on a winter’s night a traveler be benighted in Montmorillon Calvino was admiring the broad range of Oulipo titles in The Glass Key Bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died.

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