Our Ancestors, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Viscount Medardo is bisected by a Turkish cannonball on the plains of Bohemia; Baron Cosimo, at the age of twelve, retires to the trees for the rest of his days; Charlemagne's knight, Agiluf, is an empty suit of armour.

These three vivid images are the points of departure for Calvino's classic triptych of moral tales, now published in one volume and all displaying the exuberant talent of a master storyteller.


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Our Ancestors contains three short stories by Calvino: The Cloven Viscount, Baron in the Trees, and The Non-Existent Knight. <br/><br/>The Cloven Viscount deals with a viscount split in two on the field of battle and whose two separate halves continue living: one who is good, the other bad. <br/><br/>The Baron in the Trees deals with a young boy who renounces earthly existence in favour of an arboreal one, and how he comes to terms with his independence. One of the more overtly philosophical works in the collection.<br/><br/>The Non-Existent Knight deals with a brave knight who embodies all the chivalric virtues yet is only an empty suit of armour. The main themes are identity, integration with society, and virtue.<br/><br/>All three are allegorical but not too heavy-handed; they are part of Calvino's classic works and together help illustrate why Calvino remains one of the best modern Italian writers.