Cover: The Open Work, from Harvard University PressCover: The Open Work in PAPERBACK

The Open Work

Umberto Eco

Translated by Anna Cancogni

Introduction by David Robey

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674639768

Publication Date: 04/03/1989

Academic Trade

320 pages

6 x 9 inches

World

More than twenty years after its original appearance in Italian, The Open Work remains significant for its powerful concept of “openness”—the artist’s decision to leave arrangements of some constituents of a work to the public or to chance—and for its striking anticipation of two major themes of contemporary literary theory: the element of multiplicity and plurality in art, and the insistence on literary response as an interactive process between reader and text. The questions Umberto Eco raises, and the answers he suggests, are intertwined in the continuing debate on literature, art, and culture in general.

This entirely new edition, edited for the English-language audience with the approval of Eco himself, includes an authoritative introduction by David Robey that explores Eco’s thought at the period of The Open Work, prior to his absorption in semiotics. The book now contains key essays on Eco’s mentor Luigi Pareyson, on television and mass culture, and on the politics of art. [Harvard University Press published separately and simultaneously the extended study of James Joyce that was originally part of The Open Work, entitled The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Middle Ages of James Joyce.]

The Open Work explores a set of issues in aesthetics that remain central to critical theory, and does so in a characteristically vivid style. Eco’s convincing manner of presenting ideas and his instinct for the lively example are threaded compellingly throughout. This book is at once a major treatise in modern aesthetics and an excellent introduction to Eco’s thought.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, by Lindsay Chervinsky, from Harvard University Press

Why You Should Participate in an (Online) Book Club

Online book clubs can be a rewarding way to connect with readers, Lindsay Chervinsky discovered, when she was invited to join one to discuss her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Since my book was published in April 2020, I’ve discovered that my work appeals to three main audiences. First, the general readers who are enthusiastic about history, attend virtual events, and tend to support local historic sites. Second, readers who are curious about our government institutions and the current political climate and are looking for answers about its origins. And third, history, social studies, and government teachers