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. These six lectures in Harvard's prestigious "Charles Eliot Norton Lectures" invite readers to reexamine how they read and how much is expected of them. Eco argues that any actual reader is an empirical reader with a specific personal reading context. As such, each individual reader is only part of the model reader, the author's composite imagined listener. But the individual author, always distinct from the narrator is also only part of the model author whose stylistic strategies help all readers infer what the characteristics of the model reader are and, in turn, what those of the model author are. The book is published by Harvard University Press.
©1994 President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2011 Redwood Audiobooks
"Erudite, wide-ranging, and slyly humorous... The literary examples Eco employs range from Dante to Dumas, from Sterne to Spillane. His text is thought-provoking, often outright funny, and full of surprising juxtapositions." (The Atlantic)
I bought this title because I wanted to increase my amateur writing skill and overall understanding of story writing. Generally having a negative impression of academic writing after graduating university, I was relieved to find real ideas with situations that supported them but did not burden the overall flow of things. It took me a while, but I realized the author wants the reader to listen more than once as many of his topics relate to this very concept. So listen twice.
"The weight behind the word"
Having read and enjoyed a couple of Eco’s words of fiction (or is that a blend of fiction, fact and semiotics), I’ve always been aware that these works are underpinned by an intellectual opus based on his tenure at Bologna. So great to get the opportunity to enjoy full transcript of his 1993 lecture series at Harvard. Each of the stand-alone lectures can be enjoyed in itself. They are easily linked together and, despite a reputation for erudition, Eco remains totally accessible and easy to follow at all times. I was left with a complete understanding of the basis for his work and the scope of his unique achievement in literature. I got a signed copy of The Prague Cemetery for Christmas, and am looking forward to diving into that soon.
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