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Il visconte dimezzato

(I nostri antenati #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  12,471 ratings  ·  551 reviews
La bizzarra storia del visconte Medardo di Terralba che, colpito al petto da una cannonata turca, torna a casa diviso in due metà (una cattiva, malvagia, prepotente, ma dotata di inaspettate doti di umorismo e realismo, l'altra gentile, altruista, buona, o meglio "buonista"). «Tutti ci sentiamo in qualche modo incompleti» disse Calvino in un'intervista «tutti realizziamo ...more
ebook, 144 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Mondadori (first published February 1952)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Il visconte dimezzato = The Cloven Viscount, Italo Calvino
The Cloven Viscount (Italian: Il visconte dimezzato) is a fantasy novel written by Italo Calvino. It was first published by Einaudi (Turin) in 1952 and in English in 1962 by William Collins, with a translation by Archibald Colquhoun. The Viscount Medardo of Terralba and his squire Kurt ride across the plague-ravaged plain of Bohemia en route to join the Christian army in the Turkish wars of the seventeenth century. On the first day of
Glenn Russell

"My uncle was then in his first youth, the age in which confused feelings, not yet sifted, all rush into good and bad, the age in which every new experience, even macabre and inhuman, is palpitating and warm with love of life." Vittore Carpaccio's 1510 painting, Young Knight in a Landscape, could have been an illustration for this Italo Calvino quote taken from the first pages of The Cloven Viscount, at a time in the story prior to a Turkish cannon firing a cannonball that split the poor
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems to be your typical metaphor of dualism of human nature, however the middle age/renaissance fabulous setting and brilliant dark humour makes it quite special.
Aside from driving idea, Calvino, very intelligently, addresses the clannish, hermetic aspect of religion as well as love that can be driven by good as well as by evil...
Very intelligent and funny tiny book that can be read in one evening. Strongly recommended.
Mattia Ravasi
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Featured in my Top 5 Italo Calvino Books:

As hilarious as it is thought-provoking, poised perfectly halfway between Calvino's 'straight' and 'quirky' novels. A great starting point for newbies and an immortal classic for everyone else.
My first Calvino, and I have mixed feelings about this book. I did think it was well written and reasonably clever but for some reason also very predictable to me. I did pick up some of his criticism but I wasn't quite sure what was/were his main target(s). At first I thought it might be the church and religion, and probably was that, too, but after reading a bit about his background it seems it might have been communism (and right wing) and also the cold war that had just "heated" in 1952. In ...more
Wahyu Novian
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a battle against the Turks, Viscount Medardo of Terralba is bisected lengthwise by a cannonball. One half of him returns to his feudal estate and takes up a lavishly evil life. Soon the other, virtuous half appears. When the two halves become a rivals for the love of the same woman, there’s no telling the lengths each will go to win.

As the blurb suggests, The Cloven Viscount is a fantastic tale. Though it might be quite gruesome for some, it’s fun and really light compared other Calvino’s I
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
A short fairy-tale-like story about a nobleman who comes back from the war with the Turks horribly disfigured; his entire left-hand side has been shot to pieces (or has it?) and the one-eyed, one-legged, one-armed, half-gutted, half-brained (but not half-witted) nobleman seems to have gone through a personality change; it soon turns out that he's, well, evil. He treats his subjects horribly, and he's also become obsessed with cutting things in half.

Of course, after a while it turns out his
Cillian Flood
I'm no stranger to stories that split a character in a good and evil half, but never have I seen the concept taken so literally. It provides an amusing visualization and somehow manages to keep a bizarrely varied, yet consistent tone. However, this very tone does hold it back slightly as it stops the characters from feeling in any way real. Would love to see someone attempt a visual adaptation
Kent Winward
A surreal fairy tale on man's duality.
Blake Charlton
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
filled with a magical joy de vivre that is at once quaintly beautiful and happily blood-stained gothic. a fable of every soul’s dangerously divided natures.
William Leight
"The Cloven Viscount" is an enjoyable if rather silly fable. The title character goes off to fight the Turks in Hungary (the battle scenes, though brief, are impressively hellish) and is improbably cut exactly in half (even more improbably, by a cannonball rather than a sword), with both halves, somehow, surviving. One half is put back together by army doctors and is purely evil: the other, rescued by hermits providing aid to survivors on the battlefield, is purely good. As you might expect, ...more
Camille McCarthy
Calvino is such a master of writing. Even though I didn't understand every word in italian it was not difficult to understand the main plot. The story is very simple but has extremely interesting characters and leaves you with a lot to ponder over afterwards. Highly suggested both in Italian and in English.
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good story to read and an interesting take on the duality of man without going into all that clinical jibber-jabber. Although a good question is whether Calvino dumbing it down intentionally or just telling a simple story, or maybe I'm just dumb and didn't get all that I could from the book. Damn postmodernism.

156 pages :)
To read before 2019
Levan Dzneladze
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yomna hosny
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read an Arabic translation of this(I can't find it on goodreads,unfortunately) and I loved it.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Italo Calvino's Jekyll and Hyde. The more I think about this one, the deeper and more provoking it becomes. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as Calvino's other works but there's so much going on beneath the surface that it's really challenged me.

So after a bit of research I gathered that some people take this as a World War II/Cold War allegory and others take it to be a parable about human nature and morality. Those can be the same thing, in my opinion.

It starts in the 17th century when the
Mark Buchignani
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italo-calvino
In this short novel, Italian author Italo Calvino achieves considerable depth. One could report many things about this work:

Perhaps it is an allegorical tale of half a man – which half? The physical? The intellectual? The ethical? The moral? Excellent questions, all. Maybe the answer is dependent upon which pieces are missing from the reader.

What about the emotional? As the Viscount himself says, "Now with all my acute emotions there is nothing corresponding to what whole people call love." Does
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Is this the strangest story I have ever read? Truly I think it is. Here's a plot summary from Wikipedia. Decide for yourself.

"The Viscount Medardo of Terralba and his squire Kurt ride across the plague-ravaged plain of Bohemia en route to join the Christian army in the Turkish wars of the seventeenth century. On the first day of fighting, a Turkish swordsman unhorses the inexperienced Viscount. Fearless, he scrambles over the battlefield with sword bared, and is split in two by a cannonball
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cloven Viscount tells a story about Viscount Medardo of Terralba who joins the Christian forces to fight against infidels in Bohemia during the late 17th century war between Austria and Turkey. Soon after joining the battle, he is halved by a cannonball. The mutilated body is described as:

"the whole thorax and abdomen between the arm and leg had been swept away... All that remained of the head was one eye, one ear, one cheek, half a nose, half a mouth, half a chin and half a forehead; the
Michael Haase
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how dark this novella is, especially compared to the rest of Calvino's works. The very first thing the reader is shown is a corpse riddled battlefield, so pervaded with death that even the carrion birds have all died. With this book, Calvino seemed to be going in a much different, grimmer direction, away from all of the rest of his works, and when Calvino goes in one direction, he dives headlong at a breakneck speed.

And yet, though all throughout this book people are cut
Andrea Goldston
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in Italian, so I'm certain that a good chunk of this book didn't land, but the book is interesting in its own way. The book has a few really interesting things going for it. The first is a fun sense of playing fables and contemporary psychology without ever doing backflips to point out to itself how clever it is. Calvino is very inventive, but rarely congratulates himself in his texts. So many modernized fables are interested in two things: the contemporary, and the reversal. ...more
Adam  McPhee
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, italy
I thought this was going to be about a viscount with cloven hooves, like the devil, but it's not. He's cloven in two. Cleaved in twain. Whatever. I didn't care for it. And not because of the lack of hooves. I think Ramon Glazov has an essay somewhere where he talks about the emptiness of magical realism (outside of a few canonical South American texts where it was used to talk around dictatorships or whatever) and his main contention is that there's nothing that a magical realist novel can do ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a last minute request from my Dad, who is always trying to impart wisdom on me with his book recommendations. The Cloven Viscount was the perfect example of his personality; he is a constant joker, but underneath his facade is an undertone of seriousness.

The Cloven Viscount is about the Viscount Medardo of Terralba, who courageously heads into a losing battle, where his body is exploded into two halves. Although they both survive, only one half retains his good qualities and the
Sweet and a bit gruesome, "The Cloven Viscount" is more of an allegorical tale than an actual narrative. The summary suggests a more complete narrative - excuse the pun - than the one Calvino actually created, thus there are bits and pieces that feel extra, like the first two chapters of a set-up, or Pamela's character, which has a very generic fairytale-like quality to her because of the fact that her existence in the story is solely for the purpose of facilitating certain actions and moving ...more
Simon Howard
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sometimes one who thinks himself incomplete is merely young."

I have a bit of a thing for Calvino's writing - I used to cite him as my favourite author, though I've read only a fraction of the fraction of his work that's been translated into English.

It's therefore no surprise that I enjoyed this 1962 translation by Archibald Colquhoun of Calvino's fable about a Viscount bisected in a battlefield injury, whose two halves go on to lead different lives: one evil, one virtuous.

Like much of what
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Then the good Medardo said, "Oh, Pamela, that's the good thing about being halved. One understands the sorrow of every person and thing in the world at its own incompleteness. I was whole and did not understand, and moved about deaf and unfeeling amid the pain and sorrow all round us, in places where as a whole person one would least think to find it. It's not only me, Pamela, who am a split being, but you and everyone else too. Now I have a fellowship which I did not understand, did not know ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Debbie by: r and b digital
“If you ever become a half of yourself, and I hope you do for your own sake, my boy, you will understand things beyond the common intelligence of brains that are whole.” At the story's beginning, the Viscount is hit with a Cannon ball and becomes utterly evil and utterly good, and sense can not be talked into either half. The halves are outsmarted by Pamela when they both fall in loive with her.
This book is so beautifully written with such minute detail you feel you are among the lepers, with
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Torn apart in war separate halves of the Viscount, a “Good’un” and “bad’un” have independent and sometimes unanticipated impacts on their village. Short, macabre, and fanciful in classic Calvino fashion. I found the ‘Good’uns” unintended plight on the people to be the most interesting part of the story.

“...and our sensibilities became numbed, since we felt ourselves lost between an evil and a virtue equally inhuman.” p100
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Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easy to classify; much of his writing has an air reminiscent to

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I nostri antenati (3 books)
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