Quotes from Cosmicomics

Italo Calvino ·  153 pages

Rating: (12.3K votes)


“I had fallen in love. What I mean is: I had begun to recognize, to isolate the signs of one of those from the others, in fact I waited for these signs I had begun to recognize, I sought them, responded to those signs I awaited with other signs I made myself, or rather it was I who aroused them, these signs from her, which I answered with other signs of my own . . . ”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“I could distinguish the shape of her bosom, her arms, her thighs, just as I remember them now, just as now, when the Moon has become that flat, remote circle, I still look for her as soon as the first sliver appears in the sky, and the more it waxes, the more clearly I imagine I can see her, her or something of her, but only her, in a hundred, a thousand different vistas, she who makes the Moon the Moon and, whenever she is full, sets the dogs to howling all night long, and me with them.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“To fall in the void as I fell: none of you knows what that means… I went down into the void, to the most absolute bottom conceivable, and once there I saw that the extreme limit must have been much, much farther below, very remote, and I went on falling, to reach it.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“...we contemplated the stars beyond the Moon, big as pieces of fruit, made of light, ripened on the curved branches of the sky, and everything exceeded my most luminous hopes, and yet, and yet, it was, instead, exile.

I thought only of the Earth. It was the Earth that caused each of us to be that someone he was rather than someone else; up there, wrested from the Earth, it was as if I were no longer that I, not she that She for me.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“...And meanwhile the Galaxy ran through space and left behind those signs old and new and I still hadn't found mine.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics



“I've been in love for five hundred million years…”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“When you're young, all evolution lies before you, every road is open to you, and at the same time you can enjoy the fact of being there on the rock, flat mollusk-pulp, damp and happy.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“And in this self-expression I put all the thoughts I had about her, I released the anger she made me feel, my amorous way of thinking about her, my determination to exist for her, the desire for me to be me, and for her to be her, and the love for myself that I put in my love for her--all the things that could be said only in that conch shell wound into a spiral.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“This was mere unfounded prejudice--that seems obvious to me--because neither before nor after existed, nor any place to immigrate from, but there were those who insisted that the concept of "immigrant" could be understood in the abstract, outside of space and time.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“Suppose we received from another planet a message made up of pure facts, facts of such clarity as to be merely obvious: we wouldn't pay attention, we would hardly even notice; only a message containing something unexpressed, something doubtful and partially indecipherable, would break through the threshold of our consciousness and demand to be received and interpreted.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics



“And, thinking of this judgment I would no longer be able to change, I suddenly felt a kind of relief, as if peace could come to me only after the moment when there would be nothing to add and nothing to remove in that arbitrary ledger of misunderstandings, and the galaxies which were gradually reduced to the last tail of the last luminous ray, winding from the sphere of darkness, seemed to bring with them the only possible truth about myself, and I couldn’t wait until all of them, one after the other, had followed this path.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“When a body succeeds in emitting or in reflecting luminous vibrations in a distinct and recognizable order--I thought--what does it do with these vibrations? Put them in its pocket? No, it releases them on the first passer-by. And how will the latter behave in the face of vibrations he can't utilize and which, taken in this way, might even be annoying? Hide his head in a hole? No, he'll thrust it out in that direction until the point most exposed to the optic vibrations becomes sensitized and develops the mechanism for exploiting them in the form of images. In short, I conceived of the eye-encephalon link as a kind of tunnel dug from the outside by the force of what was ready to become image, rather than from within by the intention of picking up any old image.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“So our efforts led us to become those perfect objects of a sense whose nature nobody quite knew yet, and which later became perfect precisely through the perfection of its object, which was, in fact, us. I'm talking about sight, the eyes; only I had failed to foresee one thing: the eyes that finally opened to see us didn't belong to us but to others.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“Her friends' lips were red, their teeth white, and their tongues and gums were pink. Pink, too, were the tips of their breasts. Their eyes were aquamarine blue, cherry-black, hazel and maroon.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“...passions, poetry and the ego have been seen as perpetual explosions? But if that's true, then so its its opposite; ever since that August when athe mushroom rose over cities reduced to a layer of ash, an age was born in which the explosion is symbolic only of absolute negation.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics



“Night fell, the first I had spent not embracing a rock, and perhaps for this reason it seemed cruelly shorter to me. The light tended at every moment to erase Ayl, to cast a doubt on her presence, but the darkness restored my certainty she was there.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“With cities, it is as if with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“Then, all of a sudden, those pea-green lawns where the first scarlet poppies were flowering, those canary-yellow fields which striped the tawny hills sloping down to a sea full of azure glints, all seemed so trivial to me, so banal, so false, so much in contrast with Ayl's person, with Ayl's world, with Ayl's idea of beauty, that I realized her place could never have been out here. And I realized, with grief and fear, that I had remained out here, that I would never again be able to escape those gilded and silvered gleams, those little clouds that turned from pale blue to pink, those green leaves that yellowed every autumn, and that Ayl's perfect world was lost forever, so lost I couldn't even imagine it any more, and nothing was left that could remind me of it, even remotely, nothing except perhaps that cold wall of gray stone.”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


“Boys, the noodles I would make for you!”
― Italo Calvino, quote from Cosmicomics


About the author

Italo Calvino
Born place: in Santiago de Las Vegas, Cuba
Born date October 15, 1923
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