Claudia Dellacasa

The Language in the Trees

  • Abstract

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Keywords:

Focusing on the arboreal setting of the novel, this analysis highlights some of the main characteristics of Calvino's use of language, namely lexical precision, descriptive perspicuity, sensorial accuracy, use of creative similes and analogies, metalinguistic acuity. Making use of textual databases that allow us to scrutinise contemporary works of both poetry and prose, the use of language in the novel reveals a hitherto underestimated proximity to poetical lexical features, with Calvino demonstrating a clear affinity with Montale in particular. Through the examination of lists of words and of rhetoric features alongside broader philological accounts, this paper is aimed to assess the importance of language in creating a narrative that successfully resonates with readers of different ages, and that remains popular beyond its time of release. An Enlightenment concern for broad communication seems to be at the root of the wide accessibility of a language that is simple without being simplistic, imaginative without being shallow, and that preserves stylistic coherence to the same degree as Cosimo remains loyal to his ethical imperative.

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