Borghesi e reazionari, pretonzoli e codini, reggicode e reggisacchi, ruffiani e pecoroni, tremate! Relazione del Ch. Amaa A. Ulak Amjacoa, avvalendosi dei ricchissimi mezzi messi a disposizione dalla Alpha Centauri Foundation, facendo dei sondaggi nelle acque radioattive del lago di Lochness, reperiva quella che viene oggi comunemente indicata come la prima "criptobiblioteca" degli antichi terrestri. Murata in un enorme blocco di cemento stava una cassa di zinco recante incisa la scritta: "Bertrandus Russel submersit anno domini MCMLI".
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Much appears dated. The mass man of the Mad Men is approached by structuralist means. Kinsey meets Ho Chi Minh. That said, there a few jewels, notably Letter to My Son penned in for his infant son Stefano, such is a meditation on military toys and a need for nurturing a sense of history. I give this work 3. Collections of stories and essays are difficult to review, especially if as was the case for me when reading this book there are pieces that speak to you and that delight you and then others that you find grating or just ho-hum.
In some cases parody and other forms of humor come across clearly on the written page, in other cases and this may be owed in part to culture as well as to translation the efforts fall flat. An added problem with a work such as this is that it requires reader and author to have a fairly equivalent level of cultural capital, having read or at least be well-acquainted with the same works of fiction, pop culture, philosophy and criticism. But knowledge is, of course, historically relative as much as it is culturally relative.
Of course, these references would not be well understood by an American reader, so in the translation many of the lyrics from the original were changed to lyrics from well-known American pop standards just as in a work of fiction like Don Quixote translators may convert popular proverbs that were well-known at a particular time and place to modern equivalents in the language into which they are translating.
The problem with many of the pieces contained in this collection is that they may have required more footnotes making certain passages more accessible to the modern English reader. So then, given these criticisms, why do I give this book 4 stars instead of 3 or even two , given this heavy load of uncertainty?
Well, as I stated at the very beginning, in a work of short stories or essays there are undoubtedly going to be works that one finds enjoyable and others that are perhaps only moderately amusing at best. The first few works in this collection had me laughing uncontrollably, perhaps because here Eco was dealing largely with works with which I was already very familiar.
In this story, professors of the future fawn over the brilliance and complexity of newly discovered poetry from this ancient civilization. In the third piece Eco gives a social structural and very scholarly analysis of the art of stripping. Sex lots of it, including adultery, sodomy, incest , also murder, war, massacres, and so on. It seems to have something for everybody, but ends up appealing to nobody.
A la reserche du temps perdu is criticized for its horrible punctuation and lengthy paragraphs. So-and-so in such-and-such a city.
Many of these pieces, reliant upon anachronism as their basis, I found a bit difficult to digest; while I appreciated what Eco was trying to do, I felt he failed in his delivery. From that fourth piece on things became a bit less funny and enjoyable, though there were some pieces here and there that sparked my interest.
He looks at the camera without any expression as he touches her scarf. Of course, here, as elsewhere, Eco expects that readers will be familiar with the works of the filmmakers he is referencing and those without a knowledge of the works of such directors may appreciate some of the humor, but much will likely go over their heads.
What works in this collection works incredibly well — there are some sections that are laugh out loud funny, and in which Eco succeeds in making us see the ridiculousness of the overthinking and pedantic writer and critic while also raising important social and cultural questions along the way.
Look at all I know! At his worst, Eco also reminded me of Pynchon and he seemed so dreadfully similar to some of those he was knocking down — Eco seems in some pieces to unintentionally echo the stuffy elite whom he elsewhere ridicules pardon the awful pun. I guess in all that the good outweighs the bad, but only marginally.
Il secondo diario minimo