i cinque sensi
italo calvino's exploration of the five senses

In 1972, Italo Calvino began writing a book that was to be called I cinque sensi and comprised of five short stories - each focused on one of the five senses.  At the time of his death in 1985, he had completed only three of them - on the senses of taste, hearing, and smell - published with the titles “Under the Jaguar Sun,” “A King Listens” and “The Name, the Nose.”  These three stories were later published posthumously as a collection in 1986.   

This project examines the connections between Calvino’s unfinished study of the five senses and his earlier work on the senses in Mr. Palomar and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.  Although Calvino died before he could write the final two stories on sight and touch, his earlier works reveal much about his use of the senses.          

While this page attempts to organize Calvino’s ideas on the senses thematically, showing the relationships between his works, the ideas proved to be much more complexly interwoven and related, forming a complex and interconnected web - like the network of a neuron.