La filosofia leggera di María Zambrano. Un dialogo a distanza con Italo Calvino

Elena Laurenzi


This essay examines the idea of «lightness» in María Zambrano’s philosophy by comparison with Italo Calvino’s essay on lightness in his Charles Eliot Norton Poetry Lectures. For both authors lightness expresses the existential value of literary and philosophical writing, as a factor of transformation of the heavy substance of the word into a bright and dynamic element. Starting from this similarity, this essay explores the distance between Calvino’s atomistic materialism and the Spanish materialism Zambrano refers to, as a tradition characterized by the appreciation of the solid physicality of things and of the irreducible peculiarity of the beings inhabiting the world. By recalling Zambrano’s criticism toward the 20th century abstract art, my essay therefore enlightens the peculiar bond between lightness and gravity in her philosophical proposal. Finally, I take on the theory of the double vocation which Calvino describes in his essay by referring to Guido Cavalcanti and Dante Alighieri, in order to recap the difference between Zambrano’s and Calvino’s idea of lightness.



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