'Between a bottle of Epsom salts or one of twenty-year-old cognac, which would you choose? Would you rather spend your vacation with an eighty-year old leper or with Demi Moore? Do you prefer being sprinkled with ferocious red ants or sharing a sleeping compartment with Claudia Schiffer?' From the celebrated author of The Name of the Rose, here is a dazzling compendium of advice offering the correct answers to these and many other important questions. Tackling topics as diverse as the coffee pot from hell, eating on an aeroplane, how not to use a cellular phone and recognising porn movies, Umberto Eco guides us with all his customary wit and brilliance through the complexities of the modern world.
A “scintillating collection” of essays on Disneyland, medieval times, and much more, from the author of Foucault’s Pendulum (Los Angeles Times). Collected here are some of Umberto Eco’s finest popular essays, recording the incisive and surprisingly entertaining observations of his restless intellectual mind. As the author puts it in the preface to the second edition: “In these pages, I try to interpret and to help others interpret some ‘signs.’ These signs are not only words, or images; they can also be forms of social behavior, political acts, artificial landscapes.” From Disneyland to holography and wax museums, Eco explores America’s obsession with artificial reality, su...
"Eco wittily and enchantingly develops themes often touched on in his previous works, but he delves deeper into their complex nature... this collection can be read with pleasure by those unversed in semiotic theory." —Times Literary Supplement
Remarkably accessible and unfailingly stimulating, this collection of essays exhibits the diversity of interests and the depth of knowledge that made Umberto Eco one of the world's leading writers. From musings on Ptolemy and reflections on the experimental writing of Borges and Joyce, to revelations of his own authorial ambitions and fears, Eco's luminous intelligence is on display throughout. This volume will appeal to anyone interested in how new light is shed on old masters by a great contemporary mind.
"Eco's essays read like letters from a friend, trying to share something he loves with someone he likes.... Read this brilliant, enjoyable, and possibly revolutionary book." —George J. Leonard, San Francisco Review of Books "... a wealth of insight and instruction." —J. O. Tate, National Review "If anyone can make [semiotics] clear, it's Professor Eco.... Professor Eco's theme deserves respect; language should be used to communicate more easily without literary border guards." —The New York Times "The limits of interpretation mark the limits of our world. Umberto Eco's new collection of essays touches deftly on such matters." —Times Literary Supplement "It is a careful and challenging collection of essays that broach topics rarely considered with any seriousness by literary theorists." —Diacritics Umberto Eco focuses here on what he once called "the cancer of uncontrolled interpretation"—that is, the belief that many interpreters have gone too far in their domination of texts, thereby destroying meaning and the basis for communication.