Tuesday, November 10, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, excerpt nine)

from The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino:

Viola’s loving obstinacy met Cosimo’s, and sometimes they clashed. Cosimo shunned hesitations, softness, refined perverseness: he liked nothing that was not natural love. Republican virtues were in the air: times were brewing, severe and licentiousness at once. Cosimo, an insatiable lover, was a stoic, an ascetic, a puritan. Always in search of amorous happiness, he was nevertheless hostile to sensuality. He went so far as to distrust the kiss, the caress, verbal flattery, everything that obscured or claimed to replace the health of nature. It was Viola who revealed to him the fullness of it, and with her he never felt the sadness after love preached by the theologians. Indeed, he wrote a philosophical letter on that subject to Rousseau, who, perhaps distressed, didn’t answer.

But Viola was also a sophisticated, capricious, spoiled woman, all-embracing in blood and spirit. Cosimo’s love filled her senses but left her imagination unsatisfied. From that arose disagreements and shadowy resentments. But they didn’t last long, so various was their life and the world around.

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