THE NON-EXISTENT KNIGHT and THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT by Italo Calvino

THE NON-EXISTENT KNIGHT and THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT

KIRKUS REVIEW

These are two new fantasies by the author of The Baron in the Trees (1959) and the first is a little too thin and airy, like its protagonist- Agilulf- a knight who is armour only. Ag is part of Charlemagne's army, a shining, titled and tiresome ideal. He has as squire and counterpart a buffoon who is and constantly becomes everything in nature; knight and squire are thus mind and body, or spirit and earth. Their adventures however emphasize this symbolism rather too sketchily and obviously. Agiluf's right to be a knight at all is finally challenged by an outsider's love, and he vanishes, leaving his armour to be filled by a real boy who finally woos and wins the Amazonian nun with whom he had fallen in love. Or- the reality of love has finally fused mind and body... The second story, The Cloven Viscount, is similar but far more ironical and successful. Here the hero has been cut in half in an accident of war. As the bad Viscount, he terrorizes his village; as the good half, he by being too confusedly good. Love again reunites him into that good bad, mind flesh, paradoxical being that is man. The visual images, the playfulness, work better and more simply in this- to make it more real. Both are interesting, but lack the basic pity and terror implicit in the most moving kinds of allegory.
Pub Date: June 15th, 1962
ISBN: 0156659751
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1962




MORE BY ITALO CALVINO

NonfictionWHY READ THE CLASSICS? by Italo Calvino
by Italo Calvino
FictionFANTASTIC TALES by Italo Calvino
by Italo Calvino
FictionNUMBERS IN THE DARK by Italo Calvino
by Italo Calvino