Scott's Reviews > Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
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's review
Mar 17, 2011

it was amazing
Read from August 01 to 12, 2012

An almost free-form meditation on how we perceive our world and how we create meaning around us. Whether a cognitive scientist could do better to capture the various methods and ways we understand, order, and attempt to control our surroundings (urban or otherwise) than Calvino could with this slim tome of what I would consider almost prose poetry, I am not sure. Symbols, words, sounds, expressions, movement, music - what else do we have to communicate space and memory to one another? Calvino explores our human repertoire and sketches the limitations of perfectly transferring meaning and experience. This book brings to mind the limitations inherent in Plato's conceptualization of the ideal, for how to convey even simple ideas across continents? between civilizations or cultures? Is there a universal ideal? If someone like Plato cannot convince me of a universal standard of beauty, Calvino's volume expresses its ineffability.

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