In Italo Calvino’s book “If on a Winter’s night a traveller”, the cultural intersections of class, race, sexuality or gender are well explored through a language that is simple and clear to the reader. It is through this book that these variables which are attached to individuals are REPLACEed into current theoretical models of the family. The text and language of this novel is developed to explain to the reader how a culture of reading can be developed through encouraging the readers the essence of creating self interests in reading of books, texts, novels and others (Italo Calvino, 1981, p. 297). The texts awareness of itself as text greatly affects the cultural critiques, insights or revelations which are at work in that it instructs the reader on how to read it and what is to be read in a very unusual manner. The focus on the writerly experience and writing comments on the cultural production of the book in that this post-modern novel combines a detective story with love through a sardonic dissection of the industry of publishing in the reading allegory. It displays the frustration through which two readers become comically disappointed in their attempts to finish the same novel repeatedly.
Cultural representations are well developed in “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” through the use of dialect, slang, language and experiments coupled with dialogue, like for instance, there is a case of a reader who goes through a lot of difficulties in the endeavour to find a copy of Italo Calvino’s novel. This novel is therefore a mystery story filled with a treasure hunt, a satire and a romance. It wins the readers attention in that it begins with explaining to them how the book is supposed to be read. This gently chiding and joking by the author is what makes the tone of the book to be a funny metafictional novel which does not only REPLACE its author but the readers as well.
The use of language presents cultural authenticity and insight in the novel in that the author successfully includes the reader to be the major character in the book and assumes the second person thus making the book to be not only a novel but a novel within a novel which contains other novels. Few authors have been brave enough to include the reader thus this inclusion makes the novel to be a subtle undermining of reality. The author has also included cultures which were just made up thus making the inclusion of isolated chapters in the novel to become intriguing just like the literary hunt since each one of them cuts off at a very suspenseful moment leaving the reader guessing what will happen next. The author successfully invites the reader in sharing in the cultural experience through bringing them on board in the novel as second person.
The author’s refection regarding culture in this novel is affected in the endeavour to write about the homeland from distanced location, emigration or exile since it has been observed that many writers, in their displaced existence have generally tended to excel in their works as if the change in the atmosphere or environment acts as a big stimulant to them (Italo Calvino, 2010, p. 374). In most dislocated circumstances, such literature has been referred to as “Exile Literature” (Italo Calvino, & William Weaver, 1979, p. 479). For instance, Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s night a traveller” is an example of an Exile literature in which the author has addressed well the contrast of cultural expectations, languages and cultural interactions in the experience as a traveller, emigrant or exile.
Dislocation or distance has a greater impact on the arrangement of various narratives and Italo Calvino’s book is no exception. Distance or dislocation has an impact that indeed, the exiled writer could not even have prospered if there was no exile and thus this work plus other greater works have prospered because their authors were in exile. It is through the book that it can be portrayed that culture is recognized through projections of otherness in which the transmission of national culture and traditions became the major theme in world literature (M. Keith Booker, 1993, p. 863).
In this novel and others, the theme of lost, unknown and/or dislocated relatives comes up in that it portrays how various authors have written great works while they are in exile to address various social, culturally and national issues which affect the human race. The theme of dislocation is used to indicate how exiled authors have used their time in exile to write about various issues affecting humanity, something that could not have been achieved if there was no exile (International Association for Semiotic Studies. Congress, Irmengard Rauch, & Gerald F, Carr, 1999, p. 472). The theme of dislocated, unknown or lost relatives has therefore been utilized by Italo Calvin in the book “If on a Winter’s Night a traveller” and other exiled authors’ works to create their cultural narratives through the comparison of life in exile and life at the homeland. The exiled authors’ sense of cultural identity is greatly affected through the distanced relations since they forced to make a comparison of homeland life situations and the environment in exile. This makes conclusions regarding the two environments to be a difficult task for the authors in exile.
The theme of dislocated, lost or unknown relatives is strengthened through various commentaries made in the novels regarding cultural ties, ruptures, connections and affiliations (Italo Calvino, 1981). This is because at first, the effect that exile has on the writers and on their works seems to be apparently paradoxical since the exile at first seems to be both a liberating and shocking experience. There is an apparent paradox because it manifests the prevailing tension which keeps the strings attached between the author’s place of exile and the place of origin. In order for exiled authors to free themselves from the imminent enmeshing strings which tend to pull the strings attached in opposite ways, then such authors have to write or engage themselves in other artistic expressions (Italo Calvino, 2010, p. 379). There is a longing in exile literature in that there is an urge to satisfy the various cultural intersections that are exhibited in both the homeland and the country of exile which authors attempt in all ways to satisfy and justify the end.
In conclusion, cultural intersections are very vital components in the lives of not only exiled authors but also students, travellers and any other individual going in a foreign country for studies, tourism or other reasons. The theme of dislocation is therefore rampantly used in addressing the various cultural strains, ruptures, connections or affiliations which are encountered by individuals living away from their homelands. It is a fact that works done in a different cultural setting have been bound to be more great and attractive as compared to works belonging to authors residing in their home countries.
Italo Calvino. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, New York, Random House, 2010, p. 379
Italo Calvino. If on a winter’s night a traveller, A Helen and Kurt Wolff Bk, Harvest book, California, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981, p. 297
Italo Calvino, & William Weaver. If on a winter’s night a traveller, California, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979, p.689
M. Keith Booker. Literature and domination: sex, knowledge, and power in modern fiction, Washington DC, University Press of Florida, 1993, p.435
Welch D. Everman. Who says this?: the authority of the author, the discourse, and the reader, Crosscurrents/modern critiques, A Chicago Classic, Modern critiques third series: Crosscurrents, California, New York, SIU Press, 1988, p. 831
International Association for Semiotic Studies. Congress, Irmengard Rauch, & Gerald F. Carr. Semiotics around the world: synthesis in diversity : proceedings of the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, Berkeley, 1994, Volume 1, Approaches to semiotics, Semiotics Around the World: Synthesis in Diversity: Proceedings of the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, Berkeley, 1994, Irmengard Rauch, Volume 126 of Beihefte Zur Zeitschrift Fur die Alttestamentliche Wissensch, Volume 1; Volume 5 of Proceedings of the … congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, International Association for Semiotic Studies, Walter de Gruyter, 1999, p. 472