Italo Calvino in Collection of Sand claimed that 'the brain begins in the eye'. The essays collected here display his fascination with the visual universe, in which the things we see tell a truth about the world. With encyclopedic knowledge and engaging curiosity, Calvino writes about such diverse subjects as the imaginative pleasures of maps, bizarre exhibitions and the earliest forms of written language. Books and paintings provoke discussions of artistic motivation, while descriptions of a meticulous Japanese garden, Trajan's column crumbling to dust or a Mexican temple smothered by the jungle lead to contemplations on space, time and civilization. Surprising and profound, Collection of Sand provides a glimpse into the mind of a master of the magination.Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and raised in San Remo, Italy; he fought for the Italian Resistance from 1943-45. He died in Siena in 1985, of a brain hemorrhage.Martin L. McLaughlin is Professor of Italian and Fiat-Serena Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Oxford where he is a Fellow of Magdalen College. He is the English translator of Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino among many others.