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Note (by Esther Calvino)

In 1972 Calvino started writing a book about the five senses. At his death, in 1985, only three stories had been completed: "Under the Jaguar Sun," "A King Listens," and "The Name, the Nose." Had he lived, this book would certainly have evolved into something quite different.

In the light of Calvino's previous works and given what he said to me -- "How shall I make a book out of this?" -- I believe he would not have stopped with sight and touch, the two "missing" senses. He would have provided a frame, as in If on a winter's night a traveler, a frame that amounts to another novel, virtually a book in itself.

In fact, in notes written a few days before he fell ill -- when he had started to think about the book's overall structure -- Calvino refers to the importance of the frame and defines it:

Both in art and in literature, the function of the frame is fundamental. It is the frame that marks the boundary between the picture and what is outside. It allows the picture to exist, isolating it from the rest; but at the same time, it recalls -- and somehow stands for -- everything that remains out of the picture. I might venture a definition: we consider poetic a production in which each individual experience acquires prominence through its detachment from the general continuum, while it retains a kind of glint of that unlimited vastness.

In any case, I would prefer the reader to consider Under the Jaguar Sun not as something Calvino started and left unfinished but simply as three stories written in different periods of his life.