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Umberto Eco: Philosophy, Semiotics and the Work of Fiction

ISBN: 978-0-7456-0849-5
208 pages
August 1999, Polity
Umberto Eco: Philosophy, Semiotics and the Work of Fiction (0745608493) cover image

Description

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the work and thought of Umberto Eco - one of the most important writers in Europe today.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgement ix 

Note on References x 

Introduction 1 

1 Form, Interpretation and the Open Work 6

On form and interpretation: from Croce to Pareyson 6

Art and rationality 10

The appearance of Opera aperta 15

The poetics of the open work 18

Beyond ‘openness’ 23 

2 A Critical View of Culture: Mass Communications, Politics and the Avant-garde  28

The role of the avant-garde 29

Mass communications and theories of mass culture 37

Television and semiotic guerrilla war 43

Openness and structure 47 

3 Introducing the Study of Signs 54

Signals and sense 55

Ambiguity, self-reflexivity and the aesthetic message 64

The critique of iconism 67

Some provisional conclusions on the aesthetic message 69 

4 A Theory of Semiotics 76

From La struttura assente to A Theory of Semiotics 76

Communication, code and signification 81

Sign and sign-function 83

Sign production, iconism and the aesthetic message (again) 90 

5 Semiotics Bounded and Unbound 100

The boundaries of semiotics 102

The dynamics of semiosis 111 

6 Theory and Fiction 120

Readers and worlds Texts 120 

7 Secrets, Paranoia and Critical Reading 145 

8 Kant, the Platypus and the Horizon 162 

Notes 171 

Select Bibliography 184

Index 193  

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Author Information

Michael Caesar is Professor of Italian and Head of Italian Studies at the University of Birmingham.
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The Wiley Advantage

* One of the first books in English on the work of Umberto Eco - one of Europe's best-known writers and intellectuals.
* A clear and accessible introduction covering the whole range of Eco's work, from his theoretical writings on semiotics to his best-selling novels.
* Assesses the immense influence of Eco's work on contemporary culture.
* One of the first books in English on the work of Umberto Eco - one of Europe's best-known writers and intellectuals.
* A clear and accessible introduction covering the whole range of Eco's work, from his theoretical writings on semiotics to his best-selling novels.
* Assesses the immense influence of Eco's work on contemporary culture.
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Reviews

"It is a full, clear and authoritative account of Eco's work, with an emphasis on his development as a theorist and in particular his semiotic theory. But it includes a lively discussion of Eco's novels, which teases out their links with the theory most effectively. It shows the remarkable range and coherence of Eco as a writer, and is notably interesting on the ways in which his ideas have evolved in response to a changing cultural environment. Rich in details, cool, well-paced and incisive, it provides an excellent introduction to, as well as a sympathetic critique of, Eco the thinker." David Robey, Department of Italian Studies, Reading University

"This wonderfully lucid and thorough exposition of Eco's major works will be indispensable to scholars and students alike. Michael Caesar explores the interconnectedness of the 'theoretical' and 'narrative' writings with analytical rigour, balancing appreciation with careful criticism. Caesar makes brilliant use of his own reading of the works to discuss the 'role of the reader', showing the limits as well as the possibilities in Eco's approach to texts." Robert Lumley, Director of the Centre for Italian Studies, University College, London

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