The Fairy-tale of If on a winter's night a traveler Essay

The Fairy-tale of If on a winter's night a traveler Essay

Length: 1258 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Fairy-tale of If on a winter's night a traveler  


    In the past, fairy-tales have been a major form of writing for the great minds of the imaginative authors of the world. In search of cultural roots, much of Europe focused on its folktale and fairy-tales. However, Early Modern and Contemporary Italy took its tales and changed, manipulated, and combined them, having dissimilar concerns as the other societies of Europe. Influenced by his nation's overall approach to its heritage, Italo Calvino, in his novel If on a winter's night a traveler, is blatantly provided with a fundamental structure, plot, and theme through his use of the fairy-tale.

"You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade." (Calvino 3). Calvino's opening sentences, even the first couple pages, exemplify what the reader would be told by a storyteller, as a young child would hear, cuddling within his or her warm, blanket-covered utopia, while mother's contiguous body not only provides comfort and security, but a fairy-tale incipit; the child's ear drums focus in on a lulling frequency incessantly flowing from the mother's fatigued mouth. The didactic beginning of this novel is a mechanism Calvino utilizes to ensure the reader that a fantastic, adventurous story is about to begin.

The "Once upon a time" cliche that has dominated the first sentence of fairy-tales in the past is replaced with "So, then, you..." where the actual plot then begins (Calvino 4). The Reader takes the first steps on his quest for a final, complete text. Within those few initial steps, he begins his double quest for his princess, the female reader, ...


... middle of paper ...


...iry-tales are.

"Calvino's collection stands with the best folktale collections anywhere." (Guton 91). Many attributes of the novel If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino bare a striking resemblance to the fairy-tale. The structure, plot, themes, and even characterization of the novel exemplify its similarities to a tale. Regardless of how the book is critically approached, the fact that Calvino, influenced by his national culture, wrote the novel as a fantastic tale will always remain firmly planted in his readers' view.

Works Citied

Calvino, Italo. If on a winter's night a traveler. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1981.

Guton, Sharon and Sline, Jean. Contemporary Literary Criticism.Volume 22. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982.

Votteler, Thomas. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Volume 73. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1993.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Recurring Themes in Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Essay

- There are a couple of recurring themes in the book by Italo Calvino, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. Of these, two themes are “Despite how complicated a situation or problem gets, at the end, when it is solved, you are back at where you started” and “ When you are in love you see your loved one everywhere you go and in everything you do. The first theme is the one that encompasses the whole book, although it is more of a hidden one. At the beginning of the novel, the Reader buys the new book by Italo Calvino, also named as the title of this novel, and begins reading it....   [tags: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler]

Strong Essays
618 words (1.8 pages)

Italo Calvino as Author/Game-master in If On a Winter's Night a Traveler

- Italo Calvino as Author/Game-master in If On a Winter's Night a Traveler In an interview conducted in January 1978, one year before the publication of his novel If on a winter's night a traveler (Iown), Italo Calvino responded to a question about his future writing plans with these words: "What I keep open is fiction, a storytelling that is lively and inventive, as well as the more reflective kind of writing in which narrative and essay become one" (Calvino, Hermit in Paris 190). Calvino created this very type of fiction in Iown, a novel that consists of a metafictional narrative that frames the beginnings of ten unique novels....   [tags: Italo Calvino Winter's Night Traveler Essays]

Strong Essays
3238 words (9.3 pages)

William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale Essay

- William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, the playwright introduces his audience to a world blending natural imagery with that of ancient religion. Appearing as nature’s child, Perdita fails to realize her own identity and does not recognize that the flowers she describes mimic her own image. Just as gillyvors are a result of crossbreeding, the shepherdess is essentially one of nature’s bastards since she eventually discovers Porrus has been an adoptive father for her, and Leontes is her biological father....   [tags: William Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
1535 words (4.4 pages)

The Power of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale Essay

- The Power of The Winter's Tale        Many of Shakespeare's later plays broke with customs of genre. The Merchant of Venice has all the elements of a comedy, but deals with very grave matters and ends ambiguously. Pericles foreshadows the novel in its romantic plot and use of narration. Such plays challenged prevalent Renaissance literary theory which demanded fairly strict adherence to classical values of realism and unity. The Winter's Tale is a self-conscious violation of these expectations, and a jibe at the assumptions behind them....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Free Essays
1968 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on Forces of Nature in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale

- Forces of Nature in The Winter's Tale       "A sad tale's best for winter," young Mamillius declares (2.1, 25). So ominously begins Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, a story that the audience is immediately tempted to deem a tragedy. However, unlike many of Shakespeare's other later works, which accrue more and more tragedy as the play progresses, The Winter's Tale begins tragically, but concludes happily. The play contains strong elements of both comedy and tragedy, and the course appears to be dictated by the character's relationship with Nature or her representatives....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
1694 words (4.8 pages)

The Importance of Time in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale Essay

- The Importance of Time in The Winter's Tale   Leon. No foot shall stir. Paul. Music, awake her; strike. [Music] Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach; Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come. I'll fill your grave up: stir, nay, come away: Bequeath to death your numbness; for from him Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs: --The Winter's Tale (V.iii.98-103)   Unlike most of Shakespeare's earlier plays, The Winter's Tale moves from tragedy to comedy. The disastrous consequences of Leontes' jealousy and tyranny are resolved by the passing of time....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
2135 words (6.1 pages)

Essay on Romance and Tragedy in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale

- Romance and Tragedy in The Winter's Tale      In The Winter's Tale, the line between romance and tragedy runs thin and almost blends together. The romantic ending would not be possible without the tragic beginning. For example, how could the romance between Leontes and Hermione take place in the end without the almost tragic mistake that Leontes makes in the first three acts of the play. Specific characters are responsible for the way the play turns out, with or without the help of the Fates....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
1621 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on The Voice of An Old Man's Winter Night

- The Voice of "An Old Man's Winter Night" Perhaps the most haunting poem in Mountain Interval is "An Old Man's Winter Night," a poem about an old man dying in the wintry climate of New England and alone. Here, more so than in "The Oven Bird," the comfort of a warmly human subject is held out; no one who ever responded to a Norman Rockwell magazine cover could but be taken by the old man, alone in his house ("All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him"), unable to summon up the resources to hold the winter night at bay: What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand....   [tags: Old Man's Winter Night]

Free Essays
849 words (2.4 pages)

Art and Nature in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale Essay

- Art and Nature in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale In Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”, we see a jealous king convinced he is search of the truth. He will expose his wife and her alleged philandering, but his determination to prove this actually changes this search from one for truth to one for myths—creations, false truths. In essence. Leontes runs into the conflict of defining art versus nature, where art is the view of the world he constructs to prove his paranoia true. Nature itself can exist without art, but the art here is the mangled perception through which Leontes will seek to define Nature....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
1325 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on The Dark Comic Vision of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale

- The Dark Comic Vision of The Winter’s Tale       Although Shakespeare’s plays are generally categorized according to their adherence to the formulaic definitions of histories, romances, comedies, or tragedies, there are several plays that complicate the task of fitting neatly into these groupings. Many literary critics, in fact, have singled out a handful of plays and labeled them ‘Problem Plays’ because they do not fall easily into any of the four categories, though they do loosely adhere to the predicated ‘formula’ of the genre under which they appear in the Folios....   [tags: Shakespeare Winter's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
1748 words (5 pages)