serendipities language and lunacy

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Serendipities

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 0156007517
Genre : Literary Collections
File Size : 86. 39 MB
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From Leibniz's belief that the "I Ching" illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world.

Serendipities

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 9781474602792
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 39. 86 MB
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Serendipities is an iconoclastic, dazzlingly erudite and witty demonstration, by one of the world's most brilliant thinkers, of how myths and lunacies can produce historical developments of no small significance. In Eco's words, 'even errors can produce interesting side effects'. Eco's book shows how: -- believers in a flat earth helped Columbus accidentally discover America -- the medieval myth of Prester John, the Christian king in Asia, assisted the European drive eastward -- the myth of the Rosicrucians affected the Masons, leading in turn to the widespread belief in a Jewish masonic plot to dominate the world and other forms of paranoid anti-Semitism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The Search For The Perfect Language

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 0006863787
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 42. 99 MB
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The idea that there once existed a language which perfectly and unambiguously expressed the essence of all possible things and concepts has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for at least two millennia. This is an investigation into the history of that idea and of its profound influence on European thought, culture and history. From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was just such a language, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants from the catastrophe of the Fall and at Babel. The recovery of that language would, for theologians, express the nature of divinity, for cabbalists allow access to hidden knowledge and power, and for philosophers reveal the nature of truth. Versions of these ideas remained current in the Enlightenment, and have recently received fresh impetus in attempts to create a natural language for artificial intelligence. The story that Umberto Eco tells ranges widely from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the history of the study of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation between language and identity and describes, for example, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - one of whom presented God talking in Swedish to Adam, who replied in Danish, while the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the original. He also shows how the late eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples was perverted to support notions of racial superiority. To this subtle exposition of a history of extraordinary complexity, Umberto Eco links the associated history of the manner in which the sounds of language and concepts have been written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the book is, in sum, a" tour de force" of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, providing a series of original perspectives on two thousand years of European History. The paperback edition of this book is not available through Blackwell outside of North America.

Misreadings

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 0156607522
Genre : Literary Collections
File Size : 23. 55 MB
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Parodies of literary and academic writers include a version of "Lolita" with an older woman, an inside account of heavenly bureaucracy, and the story of Columbus' landing as if done by television news

How To Travel With A Salmon

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 0547540434
Genre : Literary Collections
File Size : 88. 66 MB
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“Impishly witty and ingeniously irreverent” essays on topics from cell phones to librarians, by the author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum (The Atlantic Monthly). A cosmopolitan curmudgeon the Los Angeles Times called “the Andy Rooney of academia”—known for both nonfiction and novels that have become blockbuster New York Times bestsellers—Umberto Eco takes readers on “a delightful romp through the absurdities of modern life” (Publishers Weekly) as he journeys around the world and into his own wildly adventurous mind. From the mundane details of getting around on Amtrak or in the back of a cab, to reflections on computer jargon and soccer fans, to more important issues like the effects of mass media and consumer civilization—not to mention the challenges of trying to refrigerate an expensive piece of fish at an English hotel—this renowned writer, semiotician, and philosopher provides “an uncanny combination of the profound and the profane” (San Francisco Chronicle). “Eco entertains with his clever reflections and with his unique persona.” —Kirkus Reviews Translated from the Italian by William Weaver

Six Walks In The Fictional Woods

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 9780674503953
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 68. 47 MB
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In this exhilarating book, we accompany Umberto Eco as he explores the intricacies of fictional form and method. Using examples ranging from fairy tales and Flaubert, Poe and Mickey Spillane, Eco draws us in by means of a novelist's techniques, making us his collaborators in the creation of his text and in the investigation of some of fiction's most basic mechanisms.

Inventing The Enemy

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 9780547577609
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 82. 70 MB
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“Underscores the writer’s profound erudition, lively wit, and passion for ideas of all shapes and sizes . . . Eco’s pleasure in such explorations is obvious and contagious.” — Booklist Inventing the Enemy covers a wide range of topics on which Eco has written and lectured over the past ten years: from a disquisition on the theme that runs through his recent novel The Prague Cemetery — every country needs an enemy, and if it doesn’t have one, must invent it — to a discussion of ideas that have inspired his earlier novels (and in the process he takes us on an exploration of lost islands, mythical realms, and the medieval world); from indignant reviews of James Joyce’s Ulysses by fascist journalists of the 1920s and 1930s, to an examination of Saint Thomas Aquinas’s notions about the soul of an unborn child, to censorship and violence and WikiLeaks. These are essays full of passion, curiosity, and obsession by one of the world’s most esteemed scholars and critically acclaimed, best-selling novelists. “True wit and wisdom coexist with fierce scholarship inside Umberto Eco, a writer who actually knows a thing or two about being truly human.” — Buffalo News "Thought provoking . . . nuanced . . . the collection amply shows off Eco's sophisticated, agile mind." — Publishers Weekly

Kant And The Platypus

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 0547563787
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 38. 64 MB
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How do we know a cat is a cat . . . and why do we call it a cat? An “intriguing and often fascinating” look at words, perceptions, and the relationship between them (Newark Star-Ledger). In Kant and the Platypus, the renowned semiotician, philosopher, and bestselling author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum explores the question of how much of our perception of things is based on cognitive ability, and how much on linguistic resources. In six remarkable essays, Umberto Eco explores in depth questions of reality, perception, and experience. Basing his ideas on common sense, Eco shares a vast wealth of literary and historical knowledge, touching on issues that affect us every day. At once philosophical and amusing, Kant and the Platypus is a tour of the world of our senses, told by a master of knowing what is real and what is not. “An erudite, detailed inquirity into the philosophy of mind . . . Here, Eco is continental philosopher, semiotician, and cognitive scientist rolled all into one.” —Library Journal (starred review)

Travels In Hyperreality

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 9780547545967
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 24. 88 MB
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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, suggesting that the craft of forgery has in certain cases exceeded reality itself. He examines Western culture’s enduring fascination with the middle ages, proposing that our most pressing modern concerns began in that time. He delves into an array of topics, from sports to media to what he calls the crisis of reason. Throughout these travels—both physical and mental—Eco displays the same wit, learning, and lively intelligence that delighted readers of The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. Translated by William Weaver

From The Tree To The Labyrinth

Author : Umberto Eco
ISBN : 9780674728165
Genre : Literary Collections
File Size : 59. 47 MB
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How we create and organize knowledge is the theme of this major achievement by Umberto Eco. Demonstrating once again his inimitable ability to bridge ancient, medieval, and modern modes of thought, he offers here a brilliant illustration of his longstanding argument that problems of interpretation can be solved only in historical context.

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