NEW: Penguin Releases Calvino
(Cosmicomics now all in one volume
; Jeanette Winterson review here)

NEW: "The Daughters of the Moon" in The New Yorker

Outside the Town of MalborkIf on a Winter's Night a Traveller


I am Tazio Bazakbal.

If you look closely in the picture above, I am the young man on horseback. Near me you see a field laborer--I'm sorry I've forgotten her name--and in the background my hometown, Malbork.

Dear traveler, Outside the town of Malbork is a continuing experiment devoted to one of the 20th Century's most pleasing writers, Italo Calvino.

Please be patient as the dust and cobwebs are scraped away; Malbork has seen better days, but since the war, well, you know ...

"What does the name of an author on the jacket matter?" [Biography]

"How is it possible to defeat not the authors but the functions of the author, the idea that behind each book there is someone who guarantees a truth in that world of ghosts and inventions by the mere fact of having invested in it his own truth . . ." [Reviews]

"I can never sufficiently highly recommend the direct reading of the text itself, leaving aside the critical biography, commentaries, and interpretations as much as possible. . ." [Bibliography]

"The conclusion I have reached is that reading is an operation without object; or that its true object is itself. The book is an accessory aid, or even a pretext." [Selections]

"Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them." [What Calvino Read]

"To get all this into one photograph he had to acquire an extraordinary technical skill, but only then would Antonino quit taking pictures. Having exhausted every possibility, at the moment when he was coming full circle Antonino realized that photographing photographs was the only course that he had left--or, rather, the true course he had obscurely been seeking all this time." [The Calvino Effect]

"In a network of lines that enlace/In a network of lines that intersect" [Links]

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-Updated June 15, 2009; Outside the Town of Malbork was first programmed in Jan. 1999.