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
UMBERTO ECO (1932–2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy’s highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government, and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.