Books: Chivalry Unhorsed

THE NONEXISTENT KNIGHT & THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT (246 pp.)−Italo Calvino−Random House ($3.95).

Knights have been a favorite target of parodists ever since they first stepped into their armor. But not even Don Quixote is quite so grotesque as the heroes of these two short novels. One has only half a body; the other has none at all. It is Italian Novelist Calvino's way of saying how empty are the ideals of chivalry, whether medieval or modern.

Agilulf, the Nonexistent Knight, is so perfect a knight that his body has turned entirely to armor. He cannot be wounded in battle,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!