Mario Barenghi

Cosimo, or 'Tis 250 Years Since

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In a literary text, the occurrence of an exact date has an effect comparable to the first appearance in a story of the name of a character. This is the case of "The Baron in the Trees", whose beginning is quite different from "The Cloven Viscount". The difference is easily appreciated by reading the two texts aloud. This article investigates the choice of the chronological starting point of the novel, on the basis of Calvino's manuscript notes, and discusses Cosimo's decision to climb on the trees in parallel with Calvino's decision to join partisan groups on Maritime Alps during WW2, as well as the connection between a looking down at the world from above and a storyteller's attitude.

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