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Chronicles of a Liquid Society
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
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The acclaimed author examines our contemporary world—from technology to politics and pop culture—in this collection of essays written for L’Espresso.

Umberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. In this, his last collection, the celebrated essayist and novelist observes the changing world around him with irrepressible curiosity and philosophical insight. He illuminates the contemporary upheaval in ideological values, the crises in politics, and the unbridled individualism that have become the backdrop of our lives—creating a “liquid” society that defies any organizing principle. 

In these pieces, written for his regular column in the Italian magazine L’Espresso, Eco brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, mass media, racism, and good manners. It is “a swan song from one of Europe’s great intellectuals…[Eco] entertains with his intellect, humor, and insatiable curiosity” (Kirkus Reviews).
“An intelligent, intriguing, and often hilariously incisive set of observations on contemporary follies and changing mores.” —Publishers Weekly
 

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/14/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780544974579
ASIN:
B01MXXZYTA

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Umberto Eco. (2017). Chronicles of a Liquid Society. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Umberto Eco. 2017. Chronicles of a Liquid Society. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Umberto Eco, Chronicles of a Liquid Society. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Umberto Eco. Chronicles of a Liquid Society. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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        UMBERTO ECO (1932–2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels. He received Italy's highest literary award, the Premio Strega, was named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government, and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Chronicles of a Liquid Society
fullDescription

The acclaimed author examines our contemporary world—from technology to politics and pop culture—in this collection of essays written for L’Espresso.

Umberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. In this, his last collection, the celebrated essayist and novelist observes the changing world around him with irrepressible curiosity and philosophical insight. He illuminates the contemporary upheaval in ideological values, the crises in politics, and the unbridled individualism that have become the backdrop of our lives—creating a “liquid” society that defies any organizing principle. 

In these pieces, written for his regular column in the Italian magazine L’Espresso, Eco brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, mass media, racism, and good manners. It is “a swan song from one of Europe’s great intellectuals…[Eco] entertains with his intellect, humor, and insatiable curiosity” (Kirkus Reviews).
“An intelligent, intriguing, and often hilariously incisive set of observations on contemporary follies and changing mores.” —Publishers Weekly
 
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 1, 2017

        Novelist, essayist, and semiotician nonpareil (see his star turn in Laurent Binet's sensational The Seventh Function of Language), Eco began writing a regular column for the Italian weekly magazine L'Espresso in 1985. It ranged from Herodotus to pop culture but frequently addressed our "liquid society," where community has been lost and friends and colleagues turned into competitors.

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 14, 2017
        This posthumous collection of essays reprints spirited selections from a column, “La bustina di Minerva,” that the late novelist Eco (Numero Zero) wrote for the Italian weekly magazine L’Espresso. These “brief jottings,” which span the years 2000–2015, cover a range of topics, including education, technology, racism, and religion, and add up to a picture of a society in flux. Eco’s writing reveals a humanist in every sense of the word, well acquainted with the classics of Western civilization and able to take a broad, often amused view of human affairs. Neither a snob nor a prude, Eco takes as his central theme the value of knowledge, along with the process of identifying, acquiring, preserving, and transmitting it. His conclusions are grounded in moral principles such as tolerance and good old-fashioned courtesy, and the only enemies he identifies are the enemies of knowledge: ignorance, credulity, violence, and fear. Dixon’s translation is seamless, capturing Eco’s erudite style (and keeping the occasional sprinkle of Latin.) This volume’s primary reward lies in the pleasure of watching a finely calibrated, expansive, and logical mind build an argument or deconstruct cant. Eco has left us an intelligent, intriguing, and often hilariously incisive set of observations on contemporary follies and changing mores.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 1, 2017
        A swan song from one of Europe's great intellectuals.After publishing numerous novels, criticism, essays, and so much more, Eco (Numero Zero, 2015, etc.) died in 2016 at the age of 84. Like a few others before him, including Edmund Wilson and Lionel Trilling, among others, Eco proved that one could write for many audiences. Following up on two similar collections, this book contains more than 100 short opinion pieces originally published in L'Espresso magazine from 2000 to 2015. He calls them "reflections on aspects of this 'liquid society' of ours," and they encompass the current crises facing countries across the world, a collapse of ideologies, and the rise of unbridled individualism. They are divided into 13 titled sections, including "From Stupidity to Folly." Eco was no curmudgeon, but he didn't suffer fools gladly--e.g., the "excess of stupidity is clogging the [internet] lines." The author regularly discusses his dislike of cellphones; people "no longer talk face-to-face...no longer reflect on life and death, and instead talk obsessively, invariably with nothing to say." There's a distinct Italian lean to these pieces, so some travel better than others, but it's not so much the information they convey as much as the intellect and thought processes of the conveyor. As Eco admits in one of the last pieces, "don't take the things you have just read as pure gold." In one piece, he discusses the Italian government selling off their Maserati cars; in another, the letters of Ian Fleming, who "was a master of style," and James Joyce. We learn that Eco is a big fan of the "amiable universe" of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe and that Art Spiegelman is a "genius," Maus "one of the most important pieces of literature on the Holocaust." Even when he's apologizing for not writing prefaces for people's books, Eco entertains with his intellect, humor, and insatiable curiosity. Although some of these pieces have a tired feel, there's much here to enjoy and ponder.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2017

        Starting in 1985, novelist and essayist Eco (1932-2016) wrote a regular column for the Italian weekly L'Espresso. Two previous collections of these essays--How To Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays and Turning Back the Clock--were published in 1994 and 2007, respectively. This new compilation includes selected pieces from 2000 to 2015, and again shows the range of Eco's interests and concerns. The writings are arranged under broad topics such as "Turning Back the Past," "Online," "On Cell Phones," "On Mass Media," "Forms of Racism, Religion and Philosophy," and more. By "liquid society," Eco refers to the constant state of change, sometimes radical, that individuals and nations undergo, in which the old truths collapse and newer ones have not been fully developed, which leads to a sense of dislocation and confusion. For example, the rapid acceleration of new media and technologies have people constantly trying to catch up with the latest advances, resulting in a feeling of being left behind as newer systems are brought forth. Although one may not recognize some of the philosophers and social thinkers analyzed and dissected here, the prose (excellently translated by Dixon) is easy to read and often amusing. VERDICT Recommended for all library collections. Readers familiar with Eco's entertaining, occasionally humorous style will be further delighted. [See Prepub Alert. 5/8/17.]--Morris Hounion, New York City Coll. of Technology, Brooklyn

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Umberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. In this, his last collection, the celebrated essayist and novelist observes the changing world around him with irrepressible curiosity and philosophical insight. He illuminates the contemporary upheaval in ideological values, the crises in politics, and the unbridled individualism that have become the backdrop of our lives—creating a “liquid” society that defies any organizing principle. 

In these pieces, written for his regular column in the Italian magazine L’Espresso, Eco brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, mass media, racism, and good manners. It is “a swan song from one of Europe’s great...
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