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Umberto Eco: Closet Librarian? November 16, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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In this interesting interview by Spiegel,  Umberto Eco, renowned author and scholar, perhaps best known for his mystery work The Name of the Rose, explains his upcoming exhibit at the Louvre–a showcase on the importance of lists in society and the arts. While this seems like an abstract (or odd) choice at first, Eco explains that lists have a way of combating mortality, saying “We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.”  Eco goes on to explain why the lists generated by Google do not fulfill these spiritual needs, and how education should address the transient and unreliable nature of information on the web. Though he may not realize it, he is fighting for information literacy as an educational standard; something we American librarians have been fighting for for a long time. Eco, we are behind you!



1. book collection - November 16, 2009

umberto eco is my favorit author

2. dataduchess - November 16, 2009

I like lists – and this interview is fascinating in pointing out things about why people make lists that are true for myself, even though it was unconscious. I much prefer order to chaos. Even so, it seems like a pretty big leap in logic to say we make lists because we don’t want to die. Even subconsciously, I don’t think that’s why I do it.

It would be neat to go to the Louvre to see the exhibit, although I would probably end up disappointed. My opinion of Eco is that he ends up spending more energy than I would like on philosophical and theological proselytizing and the part I am interested in gets lost. I had high hopes for The Name of the Rose, but I could not keep the plot straight among the theological discussion.

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