Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is ficton/fantasy becoming fact or is fact becoming fiction?
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...
Published on March 24, 1999

versus
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting collection of essays
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...
Published on January 22, 2004 by Frikle


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is ficton/fantasy becoming fact or is fact becoming fiction?, March 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does Disney Own The Planet?, January 31, 2003
This review is from: Travels in hyper reality : essays
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting collection of essays, January 22, 2004
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eco doing what Eco does best., June 28, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars on travels in hyperreality, April 20, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Unique intellectual, socio-critical, yet incomplete account of the US, July 3, 2014
By 
Katharina Livia Harer (Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (Paperback)
A great read. Very thorough and eye-open examination of society in the USA. What I would have liked to read more about however, is the merging of cultures which is unique to the United States and which makes it the only country in the world which is purely made up of "immigrants" and their descendants. It is a subject to study in itself. I haven't finished reading, so I'm hoping we come across it at some point, if not, it still answers a lot of questions about this young and mysterious country no one can make sense of, at least from one view-point. Definitely an intellectually enriching book to read, toys with a lot of references to contemporary and classic names in art, history and literature, some of them not quite as well known, I had to look up a lot of them. If you want to read something that takes time to get through, teaches you something and makes you research, this is the right choice. There is nothing quite like it on the market.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Umberto Eco on Everything, December 24, 2013
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (Paperback)
This is a book of interpretation, analysis and criticism of one Umberto Eco, a professor of semiotics, novelist, Milanese. There are 26 essays which originally appeared in newspapers and magazines in Europe and cover an immense variety of subjects and themes. Among them: cinema, philosophy, historiography (the Middle Ages especially), mass communications, Disney, pop music, Superman, Barthes and McLuhan. Most of these essays were originally written in the 1970s and it must be said that some of them are a bit dated now, but some readers might nevertheless be interested in them as a contemporary intellectual response to some of the events like Jonestown and the Red Brigades kidnappings which inspired them. A few of them get quite involved in theory, particularly Eco’s specialty of semiotics, and go into great detail explicating the meaning and methods of cultural phenomena such as journalism about sports or World Expositions but for the most part they are written with a broad, educated readership in mind and deal with high and low culture, politics, and history through subject matter such as the cult film, the comic and the tragic, the polo shirt, and, of course, television (that has to be one of the favourite subjects of twentieth century intellectuals. Perhaps it’s because, as he says, we are “a civilization now accustomed to thinking in images.”). This book is fragmented enough to allow flitting about from essay to essay; if one doesn’t grab you it will soon be over and a new one begins.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hyper-elitism, October 28, 2012
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (Paperback)
TRAVELS IN HYPERREALITY is a hodgepodge collection of magazine and newspaper articles dating from 1967 through 1983, most of which are concerned with popular culture and changing ideas from that period, though a few are more critical and discuss particulars in keeping with Mr. Eco's specialty, Semiotics. Most, if not all, were originally published for an Italian audience, though still only a general one, so the technical aspects of his discussions on language are designed for non-specialists. That doesn't mean they are simplistic though - I found them quite challenging.

And that aspect might very well be enough for those who appreciate Mr. Eco's previously published work or the field of Semiotics in general. But as I was reading these essays, I couldn't quite get it out of my mind that what the author was analyzing was changing methods of communication from forty years ago. I can't say that there isn't value there even still, but it was difficult for me to muster up the requisite mental energy to grapple with his points.

To my mind, though, if there is worth in this collection, it does have to do with these musings on language - when the essays turned more general, I thought the dated aspect even more apparent, and even less interesting. I believe this is because many of the subjects he tackles are rather inconsequential - purposely so - and that they have little staying power. A writer like Huxley can still reach me with his essays from eighty years ago because he talks about universalities. I doubt Mr. Eco's efforts were ever that lofty - these were meant to be entertaining.

However, the lead essay, 'Travels in Hyperreality', strikes me as a bit dishonest, perhaps even mean-spiritedly so. On a trip through the U.S in the mid-seventies, Mr. Eco investigated the various kitsch extravaganzas of DisneyWorld and DisneyLand, Hearst Castle, and sundry wax musuems and other strange collections such as Ripley's Museum (from 'Believe-It-Or-Not' fame), the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft and Ringling's Circus Museum. The point of all these travels was, evidently, to explore the phenomenom of 'Hyperreality' - places designed to be, as Bono says, 'even better than the real thing'. The various reproductions, mock-ups, displays, as well as original elements interspersed within the exhibits are evidence of an America of 'furious hyperreality', secret from the European Traveler and the American Intellectual, yet a world that 'create a network of references and influences that...spread to high culture and the entertainment industry'.

I don't doubt that's true to an extent, perhaps more now than ever. Nor do I really object to someone's sneering opinion of theme park silliness - I'd say I even agree up to a point. What is irksome is the bi-polar diagnosis of America as either 'intellectual' or hoi polloi. As Mr. Eco was writing for a foriegn audience, I especially dislike this characterization. It would be as if I decided there were only two Italys, one Rossellini and Vittorio de Sica, and the other Leone and Corbucci based only on the films I had seen, or else some other purely arbritrary yardstick.

Mr. Eco's larger point - that kitschy realism influences high culture - is a worthwhile subject to explore, but there is an overriding sniffiness to the essay, as if the author condescends to confirm his beliefs by visiting these meccas of mass-market entertainment. Insinuating that this is the salt-of-the-earth America while at the same time ridiculing it feels insulting. Since I wouldn't be on Mr. Eco's intellectual list, there's only one other option presented - I must be clamoring at the pearly gates of DisneyWorld with all my fellow bumpkins.

Then again, I'm probably just too sensitive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Worthwhile, January 30, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Caveat: I have not read the entire book, yet; only the titular essay. Eco is one of the great minds of our times, and for that reason alone, any and all of his books and essays make pleasurable and rewarding reading and are commendable. In this instance, his travels in and around America inspired these trenchant reflections on the nature of reality. Because "reality" is as subjectively and culturally constructed as "fantasy," because these concepts have no objective basis but are determined by a frame of reference that is cultural, it is arguably only meta-cultural observations made by meta-cultural observers that have any validity. Eco is Italian, and a scholar and semiotician. For Americans, reading such a text crafted from such a relatively "external" vantage can be enlightening. One may be afforded a meta-cultural perspective on the so-called "reality" that has previously encapsulated one's culturally-determined mind. I understand that minds that are incapable of transcending their own cultural frame of reference are doomed to be confined to its internal dimensions; but I understand, too, that some minds are capable, and it is these latter that will surely benefit from this essay. If none of this is making sense to you, be not bothered by this review or this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amorphous Lump o' Eco, March 16, 2003
By 
Arthem "arthem" (Knoxville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) (Paperback)
Umberto Eco is clearly a genius - his fictional works testify to that. I assume his reputation as a semiologist is well earned (since I know little about the subject beyond what Walker Percy digested).
Unfortunately, I found "Travels in Hyperreality" to be a hastily pasted collection of observations and commentary that is not really worthy of Eco's growing portfolio. The book was sometimes interesting, but dry and tasteless. I thought the whole lot of it could be encapsulated in Eco's strange observations concerning "the wearing of blue jeans." That is, if you're really, really, really into Eco and want to soak up everything he says, then this book will not disappoint. If, on the other hand, you have limited time on your hands, then Eco's fictional works, or "Search for the Perfect Language," are far better temporal investments.
Perhaps I didn't get it, or perhaps it was a mistake reading much of it in a bar in Santa Clara, but I would assert that this is only a book for the Eco purist.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book)
Travels in Hyperreality (Harvest Book) by Umberto Eco (Paperback - May 27, 1990)
$18.95 $13.96
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.