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The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay Hardcover – Nov 17 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; 1st Edition in English edition (Nov. 17 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847832961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847832965
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 3 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #216,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Eco's short and often pithy chapter introductions, the gorgeous displays of exemplary art, and the generous experts from original texts are a tour de force of curation."
ForeWord Magazine

"....a very beautifully produced illustrated volume from Rizzoli, and there’s a positively Millerian moment in it."
National Review

"...a splendidly illustrated monograph, The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay (Rizzoli) ...is, in essence, a tour through art, literature, and music based on the theme of lists, an investigation of the phenomenon of cataloging and collecting. Additionally, Eco maintains that the impulse to accumulate, to collect, is a reoccurring passion in Western culture."
The Morning News

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d704234) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f402ce4) out of 5 stars Grad school revisited Dec 8 2010
By rags of light - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book, a birthday present, revived the literature I once knew well and have over the years let slip away. As an essay on the function of listing, it is extraordinary; as an anthology of Western literature it is invaluable, as an art book, it is beautiful, but as a review of what was once known and is now almost forgotten, it is priceless. Anyone who thinks great literature is out of date or corny, or thinks the day of real books is over, should hold this book in his or her hands for an hour. Its "weight," both physical and intellectual, makes a "kindle" seem flimsy and as ephemeral as an eight-track.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f402d38) out of 5 stars Good text, loosely bound with pictures Oct. 13 2013
By Jose F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an eclectic and fascinating trip on the meaning of lists in literature history. Eco's wit and interests are present. However, some chapters and excerpts look weakly assembled and superficial. The graphical content is rich, and sometimes outstanding, but has only an illustrative function: the book is about lists in literature. Many pictures are not even cited in the text, but may have some relation with the cited excerpts. It is not as in the volumes of History of Beauty and Ugliness, where pictorial representations where thoroughly discussed. Beware: graphical content has some overlap with "On Ugliness". Book design: beautiful, it may be a nice gift for an Eco's fan.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f404030) out of 5 stars I want to sound really smart... May 8 2013
By Ma'at - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, seriously, who doesn't want to sound like a scholar on these reviews? Umberto Eco is some kind of genius. He's that kind of person that you either think of as mysterious or seriously confusing. My camp is right in between the two. Every time I get one of his books, I have a notebook next to me, ready to take notes. Oh and then after the first half of the first chapter, the book goes back into my bookshelf for future moments of egotistical reading.
The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay, confused me at first. From some of the other reviews that I read before ordering this book, I thought it would be a list of some of the best literature along with some pretty pictures. It is. But it's more than that. Like all of Eco's books, there seems to be some hidden message to glean from each painting, picture, pithy bit of writing...and there probably is. But that's why we buy his books. We know that he writes them, or puts them together to challenge our minds; to challenge our understanding of the world that we live in.
In short, I've read this book, but boy do I have to do that a few more times to really get all of it, and that's something I look forward to. In a few years.
42 of 57 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f402f0c) out of 5 stars Eco's Latest Literary Trend Nov. 19 2009
By AB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 2007 Bompiani published a similar non-fiction work by Umberto Eco, "Dall'Albero al Labrinto: Studi Storici sul Segno e l'Interpretazione," that investigated the histories of sign and interpretation alongside the history of encyclopedistics. Its aim was to more fully examine organization as a human phenomenon. "The Infinity of Lists," I believe, continues this examination by identifying the nature of lists across time. In short, Eco appears to be following a particular trend with his recent research - one that explores our immense fascination with the organization of content and its many forms.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f404114) out of 5 stars ECCO AT HIS BEST Jan. 26 2012
By J. craig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase