Italo Calvino in NYRB

The Movies of My Youth

An excerpt from Calvino’s intro to Fellini’s

Making a Film (Contra Mundum Press, 2015)

Adapted from “A Spectator’s Autobiography,” Federico Fellini: Making a Film, translated by Christopher Burton White

Part of a continuing NYR Daily series on life-changing films.

August 29, 2015, 9:46 am
Italo Calvino in NYRB

Fringe Elements

Monica Carter on Adrian Nathan West’s tr. of Josef Winkler’s Natura Morta

“With proponents such as Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Bernhard, it’s difficult to understand why Josef Winkler hasn’t garnered more of an English-speaking audience. He’s won many literary prizes in Germany and his native Austria, including the Alfred Döblin Prize for his novella, Natura Morta, in 2001. Winkler hasn’t had many works translated into English but thankfully, that seems to be changing with the release of When the Time Comes in 2013, Natura Morta in 2014 and Graveyard of Bitter Oranges in 2015, both by Contra Mundum Press and translated by Adrian West.

In Natura Morta, a novella that reads like a demonic script version of Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin directed by Michael Haneke, Winkler stays true to his themes of Catholicism, homoeroticism and death. In just over ninety pages, his indefatigable sensory detail pulses and throbs, rots and stinks, foams and drips, sweats and sticks so that the reader cannot escape the suffocating reality of the Roman marketplace, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.”

Read the full piece here: Three Percent


Fringe Elements

Shenanigans: Robert Musil

Robert Musil’s Thought Flights reviewed by mark Jay Mirsky

“There are writers who draw readers into their magnetic fields so that everything they write is of interest—because the author’s dreams, thoughts, questions, do not simply mirror the reader’s but take him or her through the looking glass into a secret world. Literature in this sense is not an entertainment, but an initiation. … Thought Flights, the most recent publication of Musil’s work is such a valuable addition to his published work. The handsome edition of Contra Mundum Press has a long, thoughtful introduction by Genese Grill. She speaks both to the complexity of translating Musil and to the psychology of his prose, particularly in the feullitons, short pieces which make up a significant number of the pieces in this collection. They may seem at first glance as Grill remarks, using a critical phrase of Musil’s like “soap bubbles,” or “shenanigans,” Spielerei, but in fact like his major opus, The Man without Qualities, they attempt to explore “the other condition.” She defines Spielerei in her introduction as, “timeless states hovering between decision and act, like Kafka’s.” —  Mark Jay Mirsky

Full review here: Numéro Cinq (July 2015)


Shenanigans: Robert Musil

Musil Book Launch

Join the book launch party and reading of the new translation (by Genese Grill) of Robert Musil’s small prose, Thought Flights (2015) at the glamorous Zinc Bar on Sunday, May 10th, at 5 p.m.

Accompanied by Stephen Callahan reading from Seities, his collection of prose pieces in progress.

For more information visit:

Zinc Bar
2 West 3rd Street
New York City

Musil Book Launch

Fellini Book Launch & Screening

Federico Fellini’s Fare un film (1980) is the most comprehensive collection of the idiosyncratic Italian director’s writings available in any language. The contents were culled from a variety of sources long out of print, including interviews, autobiographical pieces, and materials that initially appeared as supplements to published screenplays.

The German publisher Diogenes Verlag AG released the first version of the text as Aufsätze und Notizen in 1974, and an English translation with the title of Fellini on Fellini followed in 1976. While Fellini was not directly involved with the German or English publications, friends and colleagues convinced the director to edit the contents of the compilation considerably before it was published in Italian by the Einaudi press as Fare un film (Making a Film) in 1980.

The new translation from Contra Mundum Press will make this authoritative collection, expanded, reworked, and approved by Federico Fellini, available to readers of English for the first time.


Christopher Burton-White (translator)

Natasha Senjanovic (journalist)

Wendy Keys (Film Society Lincoln Center)

Followed by the screening of the film Toby Dammitt (1968)


Italian Cultural Institute of New York

686 Park Ave


Fellini Book Launch & Screening