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Palgrave Macmillan

"Invisible Cities" and the Urban Imagination

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Offers diverse perspectives on urban space and place
  • Brings together international scholars on global cities
  • Celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Calvino’s influential text

Part of the book series: Literary Urban Studies (LIURS)

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About this book

In 1972, Italo Calvino published Invisible Cities, a literary book that masterfully combines philosophy and poetry, rigid structure and free play, theoretical insight and glittering prose. The text is an extended meditation on urban life, and it continues to resonate not only among literary scholars, but among social scientists, architects, and urban planners as well. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Invisible Cities, this collection of essays serves as both an appreciation and a critical engagement. Drawing from a wide array of disciplinary perspectives and geographical contexts, this volume grapples with the theoretical, pedagogical, and political legacies of Calvino’s work. Each chapter approaches Invisible Cities not only as a novel but as a work of evocative ethnography, place-writing, and urban theory. Fifty years on, what can Calvino’s dreamlike text offer to scholars and practitioners interested in actually existing urban life?

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Table of contents (27 chapters)

  1. Cities & Theory


“Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is a miraculously fascinating work, a postmodern tour-de-force that fires the imagination of the reader and, with each re-reading, discloses new spaces and new ways of seeing. This collection of essays does justice to Calvino’s masterpiece, as its contributors widely explore the novel’s seemingly infinite territories, combining theoretical sophistication with close readings. The result is a fascinating study of both Calvino and the urban imagination that will be welcome by all who find themselves enchanted in cities.” (Robert T. Tally Jr., Professor of English, Texas State University, USA)

“Built environment professionals and researchers, social scientists, and literary enthusiasts and scholars will appreciate this excellent interdisciplinary engagement with Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the concreteness and elusiveness of urban life, and the order and disorder of cities.” (Vinit Mukhija, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs)

“A lively, fresh, and wide-ranging encounter with Calvino’s wonderful Invisible Cities. A great read that brings the thinking, writing, and imagination of Calvino’s book into new conversations with urban theory and politics, revealing its power to illuminate urban life and to inform creative writing and pedagogy.” (Colin McFarlane, Professor of Urban Geography, Durham University)

Editors and Affiliations

  • International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Benjamin Linder

About the editor

Benjamin Linder is Assistant Editor at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Bibliographic Information

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