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Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


LACS: French and Italian Studies

First Advisor

Jean-Marc Kehrès


Despite being one of the most globally renowned Italian authors of the Twentieth Century, Italo Calvino decides to relocate to Paris in 1967. Initially drawn to the French capital by an invitation to join the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (Oulipo) by Raymond Queneau, Calvino found himself in an ideal position to observe his home country from afar while further developing his writing style around that of the Oulipo. This group of writers and mathematicians sought to spark innovation by constraining their works under mathematical and combinatorial structures. The thirteen years Calvino will spend there in collaboration with the Oulipo thus represent a formative step in his writing style. It is however a move that divided his critics, as some viewed it as an unfortunate departure from his earlier works. I will examine the reasons why Calvino moves to Paris and how it might actually be a natural progression considering his goals as a writer. I will also explore why the city of Paris does not figure heavily into his writing during this period. By analyzing works such as Le Città Invisibili and Eremita a Parigi, I will find traces of Paris in his writing in order to develop a better understanding of its place in Calvino’s literary imaginary. I will conclude by assessing how the city changes Calvino. How do his peers in Italy and in France view him following Paris? In what sense can Calvino be considered Italian, French, or global? Calvino’s Parisian period recalls the role of Paris as a cultural and literary center throughout time while also revealing Calvino’s sentiment and personal aspirations as an author.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut for the degree of Bachelor of Science in LACS: French and Italian Studies. Full text access is limited to the campus only.