Serendipities: Language & Lunacy

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999 - Literary Collections - 129 pages
6 Reviews
Serendipities is a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, a brilliant exposition of how unanticipated truths often spring from false ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Umberto Eco offers a dazzling tour of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange to make sense of the world. Uncovering layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, Eco offers with wit and clarity such instances as Columbus's voyage to the New World, the fictions that grew around the Rosicrucians and Knights Templar, and the linguistic endeavors to recreate the language of Babel, to show how serendipities can evolve out of mistakes. With erudition, anecdotes, and scholarly rigor, this new collection of essays is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
3
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Interesting little book of Eco's lectures on language and some historical concepts. They vary in quality, but still are worth looking at if you have the time. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - palaverofbirds - LibraryThing

As exciting as semiotics can get! Eco is both a story-teller and a scholar, and in everything I've read by him there's a little of both regardless if the work is fiction or non-fiction. Read full review

Contents

2 LANGUAGES IN PARADISE
23
3 FROM MARCO POLO TO LEIBNIZ
53
4 THE LANGUAGE OF THE AUSTRAL LAND
77
5THE LINGUISTICS OF JOSEPH DE MAISTRE
96
Notes
117
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

UMBERTO ECO is the author of five novels and numerous essay collections, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the French government, and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Bibliographic information