Elevations

To make the leap from life to death less abrupt, the inhabitants have constructed an identical copy of their city.

[…] They say that every time they go below, they find something in the lower Eusapia; the dead make innovations in their city; not many, but surely the fruit of sober reflection, nor passing whims. From one year to the next, they say, the Eusapia of the dead becomes unrecognizable. And the living, to keep up with them, also want to do everything that the hooded brothers tell them about the novelties of the dead. So the Eusapia of the living has taken to copying its underground copy.

They say that this has not just now begun to happen: actually it was the dead who built up the upper Eusapia, in the image of their city. They say that in the twin cities there is no longer any way of knowing who is alive and who is dead.”

Italo Calvino’s Invisible City Eusapia

“Every city has […] another city whose inhabitants are called by the same same: it is the Laudomia of the dead, the cemeter” […]

The more the Laudomia of the living becomes crowded and expanded, the more the expanse of tombs increase beyond its walls. […] In both, families are more and more crowded together, in compartment crammed one above the other.

On fine afternoons the living population pays a visit to the dead and they decipher their own names on the stone slabs: like the city of the living, thos other city communicated a history of toil, anger, illusion, emotion; only here all has become necessary, divorced from chance, categorized, set in order.

And to feel sure of itself, the living Laudomia has to seek in the Laudomia of the dead the explanation of itself, even at the risk of finding more there, or less; explanations for more than one Laudomia, for different cities that could have been and were not, or reasons that are incomplete, contradictory, disappointing.”

Italo Calvino’s Invisible City Laudomia

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