The Castle of Crossed Destinies, semiotic fantasy novel by Italo Calvino, published in Italian in as Il castello dei destini incrociati. Editions. The Castle Of Crossed Destinies . Italo Calvino · Paperback A group of travellers chance to meet, first in a castle, then a tavern. Italo Calvino’s book, a series of short fantastic tales, falls into two major parts: “ The Castle of Crossed Destinies” and “The Tavern of Crossed Destinies.” In two.

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The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino

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A group of travellers chance to meet, first in a castle, then a tavern. Their powers of speech are magically taken from them and instead they have only tarot cards with which to tell their tales. What follows is an exquisite interlinking of narratives, and a fantastic, surreal, and chaotic history of all human consciousness. Paperbackpages. Published October 2nd by Vintage Classics first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Castle of Crossed Destiniesplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Castle of Crossed Destinies. Lists with This Book. Is a picture worth a thousand words? And if so, does it tell a story?

Imagine Calvino setting out to create a Boccaccio or Dante situation, a setting in which travellers meet in an obscure forest and have time to spend on a storytelling adventure.

Calvino would hardly be Calvino if he didn’t give the project his own twist, complicating matters to thr point of impossibility. His protagonists, including the narrator, discover that they are mute. How are you to share if you can’t speak?

They let Ta Is a picture worth a thousand words? They let Tarot cards speak. In sequence after sequence, the cards are arranged to tell the stories of the characters, showing their passions,their hopes, their dreams ccrossed their losses.

Even Leonardo da Vinci needed words and writing to make the statement that he thought painting was a superior art form compared to literature. Since Antiquity, visual art and literature have been compared and evaluated according to cwstle respective expressive power.

Ut pictura poesis, claimed Horace in his Ars Poetica, but is it really true? Calvino seems to agree with the idea in the beginning, but his stories crumble and disappear in the artistic arrangements he is imagining while looking at the multiple meanings each card contains. Different stories are interlinked, and give the cards new potential for interpretation. Literature jumps in to fill the gaps in the visual narratives.

We meet Faust, King Lear, Macbeth, Oedipus and many others while the narrator tries to find his own story in the cards. Lessing, in his Laokoondefined literature as a sequence of episodes and painting as one important moment in focus, and castke a way, Calvino has managed to merge these two ideas into a sequence crissed defining moments minus the connecting tissue of narrative context.

This is quite the opposite of what Xrossed did in his literary description of Brueghel’s The Parable Of The Blindturning the description of the painting into a long episode – connecting the brush strokes by adding interpretation and meaning.

THE CASTLE OF CROSSED DESTINIES by William Weaver , Italo Calvino | Kirkus Reviews

Why would Calvino do a thing like that? Is there any meaning in his ambiguous mutation detinies the functionality of art and literature? I would say let the tarot cards speak. The Hanged Man says: Ho fatto tutto il giro e ho capito. Il mondo si legge all’incontrario. View all 24 comments.


Sep 17, Michael Finocchiaro rated it really liked it Shelves: I am a huge Calvino fan. His stories are full of mathematical marvels and ingenious ideas. The Castle of Crossed Destinies has both of these characteristics and is a short but marvelous read.

Sep 07, Bradley rated it liked it Shelves: Ah, to be drunk with a pack of tarot cards. Or was it speed? It could be PCP.

But whatever the drug, this collection of short stories surrounding the obvious use caztle tarot cards to write stories or re-write common tales or to lay down the structure of alchemy or to just have a plain ole good time is crosssed concept I can love in pure concept terms, and do, but just how much did I love this exact work?

Some parts were fun and funny and the deep story concepts were really rather cool, Ah, to be drunk with a pack of tarot cards. Some parts were fun and funny and the deep story concepts were really rather cool, but getting ccalvino into any of it except for the stories we already know by heart was a real pain. I kinda felt like we were playing with little green interchangeable army men one moment and then we were having an intellectual discussion about high alchemical concepts and symbolism and the structure of the soul versus the medium in which we use it and its inversion, ghe seen with Doctor Faustus.

As in creating philosopher’s gold within one’s soul as the medium versus using the soul as a coin to create philosopher’s gold directly, with the obvious fail associated with it. Of course, if that’s too complicated to enjoy, then I’d recommend avoiding this book because that was just a tiny, tiny part. The rest seems to be a random te and subsequent interpretation. Fun, in a way, but oddly dissatisfying. Jul 24, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: That moment for me was page 38 in the Picador version that I own — at least, that is the moment I truly knew that there ihalo depths to this book I have no hope of ever being able to plumb.

A man is lost in the forest after a long, dangerous and arduous journey. In the distance, as it is getting dark, he sees a castle.

He makes his way there and od shown into a room where italk great number of other people are already seated and eating and drinking. He joins them and is about to begin talking when he discovers that he has no power of speech at all. This surprises him, but in tue the others at the table he soon discovers that they too have lost the ability to speak.

When the food and wine are cleared away all that is left on the table is a pack of tarot cards. These cards and the manner in which they are placed on the table tell caetle story. Another guest then begins his story, also by laying down cards on the table — this time crossing cgossed two rows with two columns.

In this way elements of the first story are reused in the second story. In the end there is an enormous spread of cards across the table in which twelve interlaced stories are told. The stories can be od up and down, or down and up, or right to left, or left to right. So that the detinies of clubs — a card with two wooden clubs crossed on its face, can mean two paths intersecting or it can mean the beginning of a battle. This is a book that does what poetry does — it weaves meaning out of images while at the same time referring to the history of poetry or literature as a way to give those images additional context and content.


It would be hard to be too surprised that she might make an appearance in this book as well. My Good Reads friend Paul did this review of this book – http: And while I can understand his frustration, this book is much better than he might make you think. But from the moment the King of Clubs from the Ancien Tarot de Marseille is dropped onto the table you will find it virtually impossible to stop reading.

The descriptions of St Jerome and St George which has you saying — oh so that is what that stuff meant and then the three tales of madness where Hamlet, MacBeth and King Lear are smashed together are so mind-blowingly well written and so damn clever and so insightful that it makes you come away thinking you have at least a vague idea of why people waste quite so much time reading this Literature rubbish in the first place. Crosses know, you really could see this book as some sort of post-modern wank of meta-fiction, the sort of book one might read at University for forty-five years followed by a PhD thesis explaining the connections between the Oedipus myth and the sorts of fairytales that Calvino himself documents in his Italian Folk Tales and, of course, the ever-present and potent images found in the humble tarot pack.

BUT this is a book based on the real obsession of the author, a writer who decided one day to see if he cadtle make patterns out of rows of tarot cards so as to literally use them to tell stories and to then see if he could link those stories together and also somehow write them up in dstinies way that complemented destinues sting of images he had produced on the table before him.

As tge said, he finally published the book in the hope of exorcising this crossdd which was becoming all-consuming. View all 13 comments. Um dia decidi fazer um curso de escrita criativa, tendo em mente dois objectivos: E pouco mais sei pois perdi a Carruagem logo no primeiro. View all 15 comments. Dec 28, Murat S. Nov 17, Paul Bryant rated it it was ok Shelves: People sit around in pubs and get drunk and bandy ridiculous ideas about – hey, what if you wrote a novel but you couldn’t use one letter of the alphabet!

Hey what about a bunch of characters who can only communicate by means of tarot crossde

The Castle of Crossed Destinies | novel by Calvino |

Hey – what about someone getting itall the valvino round? Well, we’ve been part of those evenings, and the next day we’ve got a fat headache and forgotten all that nonsense. Except for Italo Calvino and Georges Perec. They don’ People sit around in pubs and get drunk and bandy ridiculous ideas about – hey, what if you wrote a novel but you couldn’t use one letter of the alphabet!

They remember, and then they actually write the damn weird books. Friends of perec and calvino: He actually took that shit seriously! So that means he’s the Brian Eno of literature. Full disclosure ; a friend of mine once tried to get me to co-write a play based on this clavino. Perhaps therefore I’m being a little harsh.