Purpose of Italo Calvino's If on a Winters Night a Traveller.

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What does the novel add up to? What is it about? What values does it express?

You must discuss the novel's exploration of postmodern devices and concepts, its deliberate ambiguities (or even contradictions) and its tone.

You need to show your knowledge of the whole novel, and address the above issues.

Italo Calvino's If on a winters night a traveler is a postmodern novel which is self-conscious of the literary and reading process. It is considered postmodern because it seeks to over turn the dominant discourses in reading which are the authority of the traditional, silent, dictatorial author and the concept of a single objective meaning determined by the author. Calvino demystifies the authority of the author in the novel through the use of metafiction structure and the multiplicity of authors which make the reader aware and critical of the fiction and the author. Calvino presents reading as a subjective process through the multiplicity of reading and deliberate ambiguities which develop the idea of multiple interpretations.

Calvino uses self-reflective metafiction to make the reader aware that the novel is purely artificial. If on a winter's night is a fictional novel about a Reader's attempt in finding closure of the fiction novels he has partly read. The novel explores the literary process in writing a novel, as the Reader encounters the writing philosophies of Silas Flannery and Ermes Marana, and the reading process as the Reader encounters different types of readers as he travels the world seeking closure. In exploring the literary and reading processes, the novel self-consciously draws attention to its status as being fiction and provides a self critique the fundamental structure of narrative, exploring the boundaries between fiction and reality. The main metafiction narrative of the novel is written in the second person, using the pronoun "You." By addressing the reader directly, making him aware he is reading a work of fiction, Calvino...
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