Synopses & Reviews
"The spirit of enlightenment breathes through the writings of Umberto Eco... [he] is an urbane, genial writer who brings calmness and clarity to every subject he treats." -- Los Angeles Times The time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Umberto Ecos response is a provocative, passionate, and witty series of essayswhich originally appeared in the Italian newspapers La Repubblica and LEspressothat leaves no slogan unexamined, no innovation unexposed. What led us into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress? Eco discusses such topics as racism, mythology, the European Union, rhetoric, the Middle East, technology, September 11, medieval Latin, television ads, globalization, Harry Potter, anti-Semitism, logic, the Tower of Babel, intelligent design, Italian street demonstrations, fundamentalism, The Da Vinci Code, and magic and magical thinking.
The famous author and respected scholar shows his practical, engaged side: an intellectual involved in events both local and global, a man concerned about taste, politics, education, ethics, and where our troubled world is headed.
PRAISE FOR TURNING BACK THE CLOCK "A collection of charming, bite-size missives . . . Turning Back the Clock is among the seasons sprightlier works of nonfiction."The New York Observer PRAISE FOR UMBERTO ECO "One of the most influential thinkers of our time."--Los Angeles Times "Eco combines scholarship with a love of paradox and a quirky, sometimes outrageous, sense of humor."--The Atlantic Monthly
"Delightful and erudite essays...The book offers a delectable array of cognitive insights, ancient history, and Calvinos indispensable voice." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
The time: 2000 to 2005, the years of neoconservatism, terrorism, the twenty-four-hour news cycle, the ascension of Bush, Blair, and Berlusconi, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In this series of provocative, passionate, and witty essays, Umberto Eco examines a wide range of phenomena, from Harry Potter, the Tower of Babel, talk shows, and the Enlightenment to The Da Vinci Code/
What led us, he asks, into this age of hot wars and media populism, and how was it sold to us as progress?
In Turning Back the Clock, the bestselling author and respected scholar turns his famous intellect toward events both local and global to look at where our troubled world is headed.
A posthumously published collection of Italo Calvino's autobiographical writings recounting his experiences in Italys antifascist resistance, paying homage to his influences, tracing the evolution of his literary style, and commenting wryly on his travels in the United States.
“As for my books, I regret not having published each one under a different nom de plume: that way I would feel freer to start again from scratch each time, just as I always try to do anyway.”
— from Hermit in Paris
This posthumously published collection offers a unique, puzzle-like portrait of one of the postwar era’s most inventive and mercurial writers. In letters and journals, occasional pieces and interviews, Italo Calvino recalls growing up in seaside Italy and fighting in the antifascist resistance during World War II, traces the course of his literary career, and reflects on his many travels, including a journey through the United States in 1959 and 1960 that brings out his droll wit at its best. Sparkling with wisdom and unexpected delights, Hermit in Paris is an autobiography like no other.
“Surprising, tart, and distinctive, like [Calvino] himself.” — Philadelphia Inquirer
The last of Italo Calvino's works to appear during the author's lifetime, Collection of Sand is a group of essays never before published in English, discussing subjects ranging from cuneiform and antique maps to Mexican temples and Japanese gardens.
“Just like every collection, this one is a diary as well: a diary of travels, of course, but also of feelings, states of mind, moods . . . The fascination of a collection lies just as much in what it reveals as in what it conceals of the secret urge that led to its creation.” — from Collection of Sand
Italo Calvino’s unbounded curiosity and masterly imagination are displayed in peak form in Collection of Sand, the last of his works published during his lifetime. Here he applies his graceful intellect to the delights of the visual world, in essays on subjects ranging from cuneiform and antique maps to Mexican temples and Japanese gardens. Never before translated into English, Collection of Sand is an incisive and often surprising meditation on observation and knowledge, the difference between the world as we perceive it and the world as it is.
“Beautifully translated by Martin McLaughlin . . . To read [Collection of Sand] is to enter the presence of an exceptionally fervent and fertile mind . . . A brilliant collection that may change the way you see the world around you.” — PD Smith, Guardian
About the Author
UMBERTO ECO was born in Alessandria, Italy in 1932. He is the author of five novels and numerous collections of essays. A semiotician, philosopher, medievalist, and for many years a professor at the University of Bologna, Eco is now president of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici there. He has received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, has been named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Milan.
Table of Contents
Steps Back 1
I. War, Peace, and Other Matters
Some Reflections on War and Peace 9
Love America and March for Peace 31
The Prospects for Europe 37
The Wolf and the Lamb: The Rhetoric of Oppression 44
Enlightenment and Common Sense 66
From Play to Carnival 71
The Loss of Privacy 77
On Political Correctness 89
On Private Schools 97
Science, Technology, and Magic 103
II. Chronicles of a Regime
For Whom the Bell Tolls: A 2001 Appeal for a Moral Referendum 115
The 2001 Electoral Campaign and Veteran Communist Strategy 121
On Mass Media Populism 128
Foreigners and Us 157
Revisiting History 166
The Revolt Against the Law 180
Pasta Cunegonda 190
Chronicles of the Late Empire 195
III. The Return of the Great Game
Between Dr. Watson and Lawrence of Arabia 201
Words Are Stones 214
Back to the Seventies 224
Kamikazes and Assassins 229
IV. The Return of the Crusades
Holy Wars, Passion, and Religion 235
Negotiating in a Multiethnic Society 247
The Taking of Jerusalem: An Eyewitness Report 253
Beauty Queens, Fundamentalists, and Lepers 260
What Are We to Do with the Pre-Adamites? 263
V. The Summa and the Rest
The Roots of Europe 269
The Crucifix, Its Uses and Customs 272
On the Soul of the Embryo 277
Chance and Intelligent Design 281
Hands off My Son! 284
Those Who Dont Believe in God Believe in Everything 288
VI. The Defense of the Race
Are the Italians Anti-Semites? 313
The Plot 317
Some of My Best Friends 320
Some of Her Best Friends 323
VII. The Twilight of the New Millennium
A Dream 329
On the Shoulders of Giants 334
On the Disadvantages and Advantages of Death 355