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… As I bend to Peer into the Envelope of Myself
… mentre mi chino a scrutare dentro l’involucro di me stesso

Italo Calvino’s (American) Identity

In-person lecture by Prof. Andrea Dini, Montclair University
Presented by Prof. Elisabetta Nelsen, SFSU

Thursday, September 28, 2023 | 6:30 pm
Italian Cultural Institute @INNOVIT
710 Sansome Street, San Francisco


As we approach the eve of Italo Calvino‘s centennial (October 15, 1923), nearly forty years after his death (September 19, 1985), questions arise spontaneously: what is the legacy of this Italian novelist in the United States? What ideas about literature’s mission should he be renowned for? What should the non-academic, average American reader focus on, considering the kind of critical reception Calvino has had in this country throughout his career? This presentation aims to discuss aspects of Calvino’s work that pertain to the formation of a singular, twofold “American” identity of the author, and to the literary values that this identity supports.

This is event is organized by the Leonardo da Vinci Society with the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco.



Andrea Dini is Associate Professor of Italian at Montclair State University, where he coordinates the Italian language program. He teaches in the University’s Honors Program and is affiliated faculty in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Program, where he directs the GLBTQ+ Studies Minor. Dr. Dini’s main areas of scholarship are Second Language Acquisition (he co-authored the last 4 editions of McGraw-Hill’s Introductory Italian text Prego!, and two editions of In giro per l’Italia) and Medieval and 20th-century literature, with an emphasis on Italo Calvino, Cesare Pavese, Elio Vittorini, Pier Paolo Pasolini. He is the author of the book Il Premio Nazionale Riccione 1947 e Italo Calvino, commissioned by the Riccione Prize Foundation (2007), of several essays on the writer’s early works and of the forthcoming book Le cerniere dell’esistenze. Italo Calvino 1945-1949. Corresponding to his interests in Pedagogy and Medieval Studies, he is co-author of the Modern Language Association’s Approaches to the Teaching of Petrarch and the Petrarchan Tradition.