Elisa Segnini, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto
MA in Foreign Languages and Literature at the Università degli studi di Bolgona, Italy, and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Lector of Italian at Kant University, Russia. Currently enrolled in the Comparative Literature PhD Program at the University of Toronto, Canada.
The average reader and the pleasure of reading in Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler
Through a parallel reading of Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler and Barthe's Le Plaisir du text, this paper illustrates how Calvino both parodies and makes use of postructuralist theory. The pleasure of reading comes, in If on a Winter's night, always along with erotic desire: human bodies are subjected to reading; texts are often compared to human bodies. The protagonist is the average reader who reads solely for the pleasure of the Romanesque, but the book itself offers a reading that is all but linear, where the text demands
to be treated as a playful, mobile and erotic surface, a reading that suggest the influence of Barthe's Le plaisir du text. Through the repeated use of the body/text metaphor, Calvino suggests a fluid, playful notion of reading and, at the same time, parodies the importance that this metaphor has had in poststructuralist theory.