The Infinity of Lists by Umberto Eco
An Illustrated Essay

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Synopsis

Best-selling author and philosopher Umberto Eco is currently resident at the Louvre, and his chosen theme of study is "the vertigo of lists." Reflecting on this enormous trove of human achievements, in his lyrical intellectual style he has embarked on an investigation of the phenomenon of cataloging and collecting. This book, featuring lavish reproductions of artworks from the Louvre and other world-famous collections, is a philosophical and artistic sequel to Eco’s recent acclaimed books, History of Beauty and On Ugliness, books in which he delved into the psychology, philosophy, history, and art of human forms. Eco is a modern-day Diderot, and here he examines the Western mind’s predilection for list-making and the encyclopedic. His central thesis is that in Western culture a passion for accumulation is recurring: lists of saints, catalogues of plants, collections of art. This impulse has recurred through the ages from music to literature to art. Eco refers to this obsession itself as a "giddiness of lists" but shows how in the right hands it can be a "poetics of catalogues." From medieval reliquaries to Andy Warhol’s compulsive collecting, Umberto Eco reflects in his inimitably inspiring way on how such catalogues mirror the spirit of their times.
 

About Umberto Eco

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Umberto Eco, semiotician at the University of Bologna, is widely known as one of the finest living authors whose best-selling novels include The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before, and Baudolino.
 
Published November 17, 2009 by Rizzoli. 408 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Infinity of Lists

Scotsman.com

IT'S slightly cheeky for this book to purport to be "by" Umberto Eco, the influential philosopher of language and author of the wonderful novels The Name Of The Rose and Foucault's Pendulum (and a few others, but of them least said is soonest mended).

Nov 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Infinity of Lists: An Ill...

Bookmarks Magazine

This book, featuring lavish reproductions of artworks from the Louvre and other world-famous collections, is a philosophical and artistic sequel to Eco’s recent acclaimed books, History of Beauty and On Ugliness, books in which he delved into the psychology, philosophy, history, and art of...

Dec 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Infinity of Lists: An Ill...

ForeWord Reviews

a sign that we are subject to the infinity of lists for many diverse reasons.” Using examples of art from the Louvre and other collections around the world, plus lengthy (in a good way) excerpts from texts, Eco catalogues the catalogue.

| Read Full Review of The Infinity of Lists: An Ill...

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