Umberto Eco, 1932-2016


Picture by Università Reggio Calabria (GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons.

In the book Vertigine della Lista (S950.c.200.947 and S950.c.200.802 for the English version) published on the occasion of the exhibition he curated in 2009 at the Louvre in Paris, Umberto Eco (5 January 1932 – 19 February 2016) discusses the value and meaning of lists throughout history. The Italian author and philosopher argued in an interview with Der Spiegel that “through lists, through catalogues, through collections in museums and through encyclopaedias and dictionaries” human beings attempt to make infinity comprehensible. People describe the sky and try to list stars; poets and lovers endlessly search for words to describe their feelings, often making a list of things they love as a way of starting their pursuit.

Eco, an exceptional thinker who was interested in almost everything (apart from novels, the most famous being In nome della Rosa741:35.c.95.119-, he also wrote on mediaeval aesthetics, media culture, semiotics and anthropology*) said the ultimate limit of lists was death. So what better way for a Library to honour him than by making a (long) list of the works now held on our shelves by and about him – a list that, at least as far as titles about him and his work are concerned, will surely continue to grow, thus humbly granting him a bit of immortality.

To see the list click here.

Clara Panozzo

*As quoted from the Der Spiegel article: “My interests change constantly, and so does my library. By the way, if you constantly change your interests, your library will constantly be saying something different about you”.

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