Where Eastern European intellectuals sit today
Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees is a unique novel about a public intellectual. Its protagonist meets all the characteristics of what we call a man of letters. Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo, as was his full name, read books, was involved in intellectual disputes with the brightest minds of his time, reflected on a variety of issues and had a positive impact on the life of the local community. At the same time, he had a unique personality. After having rebelled in his youth against eating snails, which he was trying to save, Cosimo escaped to live in the crown of a tree, a place he had not since left.