Pomfretite


Pomfrurilia
June 16, 2008, 3:03 am
Filed under: last green valley | Tags: , ,

All of the cities described in Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities remind readers of their hometowns. Many of the descriptions of the cities in his book are relevant to my hometown. One of my favorite, and most relevant is the description of Maurilia, Cities & Memory 5. I’ve read the description for Maurilia a few dozen times and each time I shiver when I reach the final lines. The entire description is so true and relevant to my time and locale. Read the description of the city of Maurilia by Italo Calvino below the jump.

“In Maurilia, the traveler is invited to visit the city and, at the same time, to examine some old post cards that show it as it used to be: the same identical square with a hen in the place of the bus station, a bandstand in the place of the overpass, two young ladies with white parasols in the place of the munitions factory. If the traveler does not wish to disappoint the inhabitants, he must praise the postcard city and prefer it to the present one, though he must be careful to contain his regret at the changes within definite limits: admitting that the magnificence and prosperity of the metropolis Maurilia, when compared with the old, provincial Maurilia, cannot compensate for a certain lost grace, which, however, can be appreciated only now in the old cards, whereas before, when that provincial Maurilia was before one’s eyes, one saw absolutely nothing graceful and would see it even less today, if Maurilia had remained unchanged; and in any case the metropolis has the added attraction that, through what is has become, one can look back with nostalgia at what it was.

Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves. At times even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices’ accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new ones are better or worse than the old, since there is no connection between them, just as the old post cards do not depict Maurilia as it was, but a different city which, by chance, was called Maurilia, like this one.”

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1 Comment so far
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Yeah, man! I felt the same way when I read that.

Comment by Kathryn




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