“100” is not a number to which it is easy to relate. Indeed, with its aura of completeness, it evokes a sphere within which it is impossible to see. But 100 is stamped in our minds as the number that underlies great literary works (like the Divine Comedy and the Decameron), reminds us of many collections and refers to a compendium of combinations. So let’s imagine a high-rise apartment building made of words and a reader who is free to roam inside, in search of authors and stories. Climbing up and down the stairs, the reader will meet not only Dante and Boccaccio, but also Georges Perec (with his “Life: A User’s Manual", a novel set in a 10-storey building), Italo Calvino, Giorgio Manganelli (with his “Centuria”, comprising one hundred one-page micro-novels). One hundred is the boundary of an imaginary space, a number that convinces the mind to cultivate the illusion of having a relationship with perfection.
Marco Antonio Bazzocchi teaches Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Bologna.