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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .~------DURY --

Graham Sells: Rome Diary:

tic afternoons of country girls, Calvino to express the rhythms and tensions of modern life through the duels and battles of Charlemagne's paladins.

'The truth', Gramsci had said, 'is always revolutionary', and Calvino is no less concerned with this Protean abstraction than Cassola or, for example, Sciascia. And truth , for Calvino, is on the side of imagination,

as opposed to what he describes as 'the magma of objectivity', the passive observation of reality and accumulation of objective data, vices as much of Neo-realism as of the Nouveau Roman, and which also mar the novels of Joyce and Gadda. Equally he rejects the deeply 'psychological' novel, being no more interested in the tortuous labyrinths of a l i terary

Calvino vs. Cassola T/lA VENETO, innocent, funereal Y limbo, gaudily brilliant land of the dead ; 1960, the year of 'La dolce vita'; the most notoriously humourless Italian novelist , Carlo Cassola, and the model of purposefu f wit and subversive imagination, ItaJo Calvino, sit at a cafe table talking of tragedy, happiness, and the role of the novelist in modern society. This surrealistic episode is related in a collection of essays Calvino has recently published. The title, Una pietra sopra (Emaudi, 1980) alludes to the idiomatic expression 'metterci una pietra sopra', literally 'to put a stone on it', to have done with it. The self-irony and feigned self-effacement here characterise the attitude with which the writer establishes his position , radical and idiosyncratic as it is, so quietly and unemphatically that some critics have apparently failed to detect the 'succo', the essential juice that is there, vital and sharp . And this is not so surprising in a literary context where certain vices linger, where the writer, the 'intellectual'is expected to be at the same time circumlocutory and clearly 'committed', prolix and emphatic. While Calvino admires Montale for his spare understatement, he also admires Freud and Kafka because they are sharp and straight like nails.

THE QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST The publication of the following book is announced:

F. R. LEAVIS Readi.ng Out Poetry (Now published for the first time the text of a lecture given at the Queen's University of Belfast in 1972).

and

Eugenio Montale A Tribute

(Leavis's tribute to Montale on the occasion of his being awarded The Nobel Prize in 1975).

together with

A Commemorative Symposium in Honour of F. R. Leavis held at the Queen's University of Belfast, 30 January, 1979. Introduction: Dr P. Froggatt,

But let us return to the cafe in Via Veneto . Cassola maintains that to convey the true spirit of the times the writer must be able to ignore the most obvious aspects, that the writers who have given the most faithful picture of their age have always been considered by their contemporaries out of date because they were out of fashion . Calvino insists that we must live our own time to the full , plunge into it , suffer i t , that the l i terature of tomorrow will be what succeeds in emerging from our constantly distracting experience, nerves frayed by traffic-jams , anxiously devouring newsprint ; no, answers Cassola, we must refuse the coercion of our times, not even read the newspapers. The writers provoke each other into overstating their cases, the conversation ends, and they part ; Cassola to return to Grossetto, Calvino to the publishing house he works for in the north of Italy . And Cassola will continue to seek eternal truths in the long domesThe Literary Review

Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University, Belfast. 'Scrutiny' and Music: Lord Boyle of Handsworth,

Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds. Leavis and the University: Professor G. Singh

Professor of Italian, Queen's University, Belfast. Leavis and th.e Study of English: B. T. Rothwell, Lecturer in English, Queen's University, Belfast. 64 pages . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £2.00 (post free)

ORDER FORM To: The Librarian, Queen's University, Belfast. Please supply .............. .. .......... copies of the above at £2.00 each. (Cheques etc. should be made payable to Queen's University, Belfast).

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