In Six Walks in the Fictional Woods Umberto Eco shares with us his Secret Life as a reader—his love for MAD magazine, for Scarlett O'Hara, for the nineteenth-century French novelist Nerval's Sylvie, for Little Red Riding Hood, Agatha Christie, Agent 007 and all his ladies. We see, hear, and feel Umberto Eco, the passionate reader who has gotten lost over and over again in the woods, loved it, and come back to tell the tale, The Tale of Tales. Eco tells us how fiction works, and he also tells us why we love fiction so much. This is no deconstructionist ripping the veil off the Wizard of Oz to reveal his paltry tricks, but the Wizard of Art himself inviting us to join him up at his level, the Sorcerer inviting us to become his apprentice.
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.
Reading [these chapters] is indeed like wandering in the woods...They might in fact be called, more prosaically, "How to Be a Good Reader," for Eco, in his incredibly manipulative way, has you eating out of his hand by the end of them.
The dim boundary between the imaginary and the real is Eco's home terrain...He is a foxy gamesman, using enchanted woods as a flexible image for narrative texts, and mustering a playful array of allusions from The Three Musketeers to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
[This] dashing and stylish series of six lectures...displays Umberto Eco's enviable ability to transform arid semiotics and narrative theory into intellectual entertainment.
- 160 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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