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Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) Paperback – May 27, 1990

4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"This uneven collection reflects the Italian scholar's love of the Middle Ages--one essay compares American universities to monasteries, another focuses on Thomas Aquinas--though, for the most part, Eco relentlessly analyzes the present," reported PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This smorgasbord of 26 pieces ultimately focuses on the boundaries of realism as exemplified by the"hyper reality" of American phenomena like the Madonna Inn, wax museums, San Simeon, theme parks, etc. Though his tone is witty, Eco's purpose remains that of the semiologist. He is concerned about "the systems of signs that we use to describe the world and tell it to one another," and aims both to expose the "messages" of political and economic power and of "the entertainment industry and the revolution industry" and to show us how to analyze and criticize them. Though these essays are generally entertaining, they lack the originality and punch of Barthes's Mythologies and seem unlikely to find the same popular success as Eco's own The Name of the Rose . Richard Kuczkowski, Dir., Continuing Education, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (May 27, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156913216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156913218
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With the recent releases of "The Truman Show", "Ed TV" and the like, and Neal Gabler's "Life the Movie" book--and politics in the bedroom and vice-versa, it would not hurt one iota to read and reread semiotician Umberto Eco's "Tales in Hyperreality". Gabler nothwithstanding, there are very few of our thinkers who forcasted that everyday life was fodder for fiction--indeed we use fiction to escape everyday life--and that our fiction should be ultra-real, like The Star Wars/ Star Trek entertainment empires. Eco's background in semiotics perhaps may have made certain passages too heavy-handed for the average joe schmoe like me, but I figure that if I can do it, so can you (underlying what Eco is delineating, anyway, is how we millenium-bound inhabitants in the free capitalist world are so easily bored, and so lazy that we prefer the easy way to exciting entertainment--why, for example, would we go to the hassle of travelling to Washington, DC, to the White House, to see the Oval Office when there's a replica of one somewhere close?). Anyway, I read the book once with difficulty, then I began to get a clearer picture with subsesequent readings. There are hundreds of websites that address the Fantasy is Reality theme, but you know what? This is the work that the current post-modern, post-structuralist theory of the theme has been developed. Many of the websites have that "I am Nostrodamus" feel to them, if you know what I mean. Eco's style, however, is personable and witty, particulary in passages he reminesces about his hometown and some of the old traditions. Also, for those of you who ponder trying to flesh out a Madison Ave. photocopy, read this book. It will have you questioning things for years to come.
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Format: Unknown Binding
A deliriously funny trip through the mad places the earth's inhabitants call home. Eco skewers like "kitsch-ka-bob" the artificial pseudo paradises we have created with all our so-called modern conveniences. What have we turned our cities into, by the way? Do we really understand art?
If you've ever driven through rural Arkansas or Texas and wanted to capture with words the seemingly inexplicable, paradoxical sights along the way, it's been done for you and can be enjoyed in these side-splitting pages.
Lots of fun.
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Format: Paperback
Many readers will probably be attracted to books like these after reading and enjoying Eco's novels, especially The Name of the Rose and Foucalt's Pendulum. If so, be warned. As I discovered, the Eco of the essay is NOT the Eco of the novels. Both Ecos are eccentric, clever and witty. However, the Eco of essays is a more radical and postmodern thinker. His topics can be seen by some as mundane. He's interested in pop culture and some of his theories are a tad obscure.
This collection is a series of loosely connected essays by Eco. It's an interesting book to read not cover-to-cover but to read an essay once in a while until the book is finished. That way the attitudes can sink in. The biggest fault I found with the book is certain essays to do with semiotics have arguments that are complex and hard to follow. This is understandable as they're taken from more specialised publications whereas in the novels, he strives to bring his ideas to the general public.
The essays I found to be most likeable are Travels in Hyperreality (about the proliferation of wax museums in the US and the general obsession with replicas in society), Reports from the Global Village (a series of essays on media), an analysis of Casablanca and In Praise of St Thomas (Eco's PhD was on Thomas so his views can be seen as fairly authoritative).
A good read but not brilliant.
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Format: Paperback
Umberto Eco, profound social critic and novelist, does that voodoo that he does so well once again.
Don't let the title fool you. This is not the science fiction novel one might expect it to be. Rather, this collection of critical essays illucidates the theory underlying everyday life for us all.
Sometimes a touch on the scholarly side, in both language and focus. But I recommend wholeheartedly wading through the drier passages; I trust you'll find it's worth it
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By A Customer on April 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
i got this book because of the essay by which it is entitled. it is a great work, and a basic reading for those interested on the topics of hyperreality, simulated or thematized environments, and the like. quite contemporary tho Eco's work is Baudrillard's la precession des simulacres. so they are from the 70's and much more has been written on the topic, but these texts are, as i said, basic to understand all the rest. eco's work is quite openning ranging from xanaduswax museums, the theming of nature, etc. it is worthy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so witty! I love this author. He does such a great job at poking fun at people and their strange societal norms. Love it!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Travels in Hyperreality was a text from the late 1970s and early 1980s editorials by Umberto Eco which really hit home when a lot of the meta-commentary of entertainment hit in 1990s when I read it was a freshman in college. In many ways, Eco is a less "radical" Baudrillard, but one commentator with more knowledge of the medieval and the grounding of semiotics to really make it stick. Many of the assertions in this book about spectacle seem more true now than in the 1990s when social media has literalized many of the ideas of self as spectacle and gone are worries about authenticity. While "post-modern" does apply to this book in the sense that Eco is operating with post-structuralist assumptions, Eco does not write like most theoretical post-modernists and avoids lots of neologisms and more obtuse claims. Like most of his books of popular essays, Eco requires you to have a huge frame of reference though and you may be looking up both medieval figures and pop culture of the 1970s. Of the books I read in my freshman year, coming back to this book for the fourth time in 17-years or so, I was surprised how much of this still stuck with me.
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