Sunday, January 22, 2017

Visibility, Review

"Fantasy is a place where it rains"...?

While the reading of Visibility by Italo Calvino is not the simplest to decipher, this quote is definitely something that caught my eye, and it was only in the first paragraph.  Yet, as I am able to delve deeper into the first page of the text, I already begin to question how this will connect to the remainder of my reading.

We are placed in a scene of Purgatory, and Dante (Alighieri?) is the individual visualizing and maybe even experiencing it.  Then, as readers, we are taken quickly through the descriptive version of how Dante is presented with the "details of landscape and the vault of heavens, and the scenes that act as quotations or representations of examples of sins and virtues..."  First, the images appear as sculptures that seem to possess realistic features, then as visions casted in front of him, then actual voices he can hear, and finally as mental images.  As Dante experiences this, he summarily realizes that it's almost fruitless to have these visions appear as such, and would much rather prefer they begin as visions in his mind rather than traverse the senses.  Shortly after, it's made aware that this was solely Dante's imagination getting the best of him, and Calvino aims to define imagination through the mind of Dante.

In terms of Dante's take on the "loftier part of the imagination", the formulation of new ideas has "the power to impose itself on our faculties and our wills, stealing us away from the outer world and carries us off into an inner one".  Here, we get so lost that not even a plethora of trumpets playing simultaneously could pull us from this inner world our imagination has submerged us into.

There are two types of imaginative processes our minds can enter.  One being where we are able to see text and recreate the imagery in our mind, this occurs most often when we read.  And the supplemental process being the opposite, where the visual image is placed in front of us, and it is up to us to process text that comes to mind, usually occurring while watching film.  Calvino then explains that each of us possesses our own mental cinema that's continually working and projecting images in front of our mind's eye.

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