But Calvino specifically did not offer a thick account of anything. He was a conceptualist, he created a clean model of a thick account. As with Scialabba, a defense of the idea of literature is not literature. Calvino, like Borges, like Kafka, is a writer for model makers, not for writers. As Mann said of Kafka: "Almost too perfect."The timing as well. "Machines are clean, people are dirty." See below, from yesterday.
The proof of literature is in the performance not the idea. Diderot's Paradox was recommended to me years ago by a French art collector, but I only looked for it recently. My mistake. He's a modeler too, a smart one, but a failed performer.
Connect the transition from Calvino's early collection The Watcher and Other Stories, to his later fantasies, and the same from The Bicycle Thief to Miracle in Milan: the modernist/formalist escape from politics, ideology contra ideology. To see the world as a Platonist is to pretend to be outside it, knowing without perception. We only know the ideal through the fiction of its presence. etc. etc.
The transition, the narrative arc, from the intellectualism of idea to the intellectualism of thought as activity in context and time, continues apace. It's amusing that every time I make a comment, the person who deletes it, whether Henry F. or Bertram or whoever else, actually drops by for a visit. And some of the other comments on the threads are actually pretty good: struggling to come to terms with the obvious.