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The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics) Paperback – January 22, 1991


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Product Details

  • Series: Advances in Semiotics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (January 22, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253208696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253208699
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Primarily for specialists, this book by the best-selling author of In the Name of the Rose (who practiced semiotics long before fiction) is also largely theoretical, even though bolstered by illustrations and demonstrations that focus on aspects of Joyce, Pirandello, Borges, and Pliny the Younger. The theoretical portions discuss the theories of Aristotle, Aquinas, and Augustine as well as modern thinkers such as Derrida; this unusual blend of references, along with a playfully academic humor, is characteristic of Eco. He argues that, while there may be no rules for determining which interpretations of a text are best, there are rules for determining which are bad. These 15 essays, written mostly in the past five years, deal with fakes and forgeries, serials, dramas, animals, and some fairly abstruse semiotic topics. They are all profitably accessible to the sophisticated general reader, though Eco's penchant for analyzing things into "subsystems and subsystems of subsystems" can lead to long, drawn out passages.
- Richard Kuczkowski, Do minican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Instead of that tone of constipated envy we associate with criticism, Eco's essays read like letters from a friend, trying to share something he loves with someone he likes. Try it, you'll like it, it's easy, you can understand it. He doesn't teach, he shares... Read this brilliant, enjoyable, and possibly revolutionary book. --George J. Leonard, San Francisco Review of Books "... this book discourses brilliantly on Pirandello, on Joyce, on Borges, and rewards the attention paid to it with a wealth of insight and instruction." --J. O. Tate, National Review "Eco's essays read like letters from a friend, trying to share something he loves with someone he likes... Read this brilliant, enjoyable, and possibly revolutionary book." George J. Leonard, San Francisco Review of Books "If anyone can make [semiotics] clear, it's Professor Eco... Professor Eco's theme deserves respect; language should be used to communicate more easily without literary border guards." The New York Times "The limits of interpretation mark the limits of our world. Umberto Eco's new collection of essays touches deftly on such matters." Times Literary Supplement "It is a careful and challenging collection of essays that broach topics rarely considered with any seriousness by literary theorists." Diacritics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jobu_pks on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Well, not exactly. But Umberto Eco argues forcefully that there are a limited number of reasonable interpretations of any given text in the Limits of Interpretation. The collected essays within examine the problems with many critical philosophers' arguments that meaning is necessarily entirely subjective. The book, overall, makes a good reply.
In it, Eco takes on the alternate worlds view, as well as Derrida and Foucualt. He further describes some ways that signs can be created to constrain interpretations and criticizes the meaninglessness created by total subjectivity in terpretation.
In my opinion, Eco is strongest as a writer when he is an essayist and he is excellent here. However, it is not a large book and the price... is pretty high, especially since these essays have mostly been published elsewhere. Unfortunately, that was mostly in Italian. Look for a used copy if you can find one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jobu_pks on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Well, not exactly. But Umberto Eco argues forcefully that there are a limited number of reasonable interpretations of any given text in the Limits of Interpretation. The collected essays within examine the problems with many critical philosophers' arguments that meaning is necessarily entirely subjective. The book, overall, makes a good reply.
In it, Eco takes on the alternate worlds view, as well as Derrida and Foucualt. He further describes some ways that signs can be created to constrain interpretations and criticizes the meaninglessness created by total subjectivity in terpretation.
In my opinion, Eco is strongest as a writer when he is an essayist and he is excellent here...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roberto Bacci on October 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since Luciano Anceschi's lessons at the University of Bologna (a town in Italy, not the American imitation of "mortadella" meat), the questions about "what is art" and "which interpretations of a work of art are acceptable and which are not" has arisen with the power and the consistence of a flood. "Anything" - some scholars and critics claimed - "can be considered art, if it is presented as art: a piece of newspaper glued to a wall can be a poem..." But can it be a good poem? Chaos followed. As open minded as usual - and ever so clear despite the French intellectual franzy fashion of his collegues (say hello do Derrida, Greimas, Bataillle, Kristeva and all the nice company) - Eco tryies a sort of "coming back to the book". A lot of interpretations are possible, but not ANY interpretation. Clever, illuminating, wisely fun in his choice of examples... Bel colpo Umberto! Ci vediamo in via Zamboni!
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More About the Author

Umberto Eco (born 5 January 1932) is an Italian novelist, medievalist, semiotician, philosopher, and literary critic.

He is the author of several bestselling novels, The Name of The Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of The Day Before, and Baudolino. His collections of essays include Five Moral Pieces, Kant and the Platypus, Serendipities, Travels In Hyperreality, and How To Travel With a Salmon and Other Essays.

He has also written academic texts and children's books.


Photography (c) Università Reggio Calabria

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