Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Invisible Cities is a novel by Italo Calvino that I was pointed in the direction of by two of my tutors.

The entirety of the book isn’t directly relevant in the sense that it is simply the chartering of many of Plato’s expeditions to various cities around the world. So the actual concept of the book isn’t relevant to my FMP but there is one part of it that stuck out to me.

It is on page 32 of my copy of the book, the chapter is called Cities and Desire. 4.

The description portrays the city of Fedora, a metropolis that holds a museum in its centre, that features miniature versions of the city. All of these miniature Fedora’s are unique and showcase a single persons vision of the city that is ideal to them. The narrator goes on to state that all of these beautifully crafted city miniatures are irrelevant as another day passes, the city has changed from what the visionary based the idealism on.

In terms of my concept this links in two ways.

The first is that it could depict the reason behind why the city is failing in Dagon’s eyes. As Witchurch, the visionary who created and designed the city in the first place is so focussed on his original ideal that he is blind to the natural change of the city. I have touched upon this slightly so far within the conflict between Whitchurch and Dagon and the reasoning behind their views. At this point, the concept is that Whitchurch is focussed upon the idealism of Paragonia that he never actually completes any of his projects. He is too focussed on the redesign and restructuring of the city to become the perfect utopia, that because the city evolves with each passing day, he cannot commit to any ideal, as it becomes irrelevant. Similar to what we see Calvino describing in this chapter.

Secondly, this chapter and the idea of individual ideologies within a city matches my idea for the four allied characters. Each of which has their own agendas and visions of what the city should become. Whether these line up with Whitchurch’s ideology is therefore irrelevant because he doesn’t act upon his wants and desires.

In an odd way reading this chapter has clarified that my concept does work. The reason being that Whitchurch is and always has been chasing utopia; this lack of decision and change therefore allowed Dagon to take power and create The Great Restructuring, which set in the citizens mind that change could happen. The citizens then began believing more in their own individual ideals instead of Whitchurch’s ideology.

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One thought on “Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

  1. Pingback: Parallel narratives and conflict within the story. | Let's Venture Into The Unknown

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