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Serendipities: Language And Lunacy

Umberto Eco

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linguistics, Prose: non-fiction

The extraordinary historical consequences of errors and fictional inventions.

In this work, Umberto Eco demonstrates how myths and lunacies can produce historical developments of no small significance. In Eco's words, "even errors can produce interesting side effects". This book shows how: believers in a flat earth helped Columbus accidentally discover America; how the medieval myth of Prester John, the Christian king in Asia, assisted the European drive eastward; and how the myth of the Rosicrucians affected the Masons, leading in turn to the widespread belief in a Jewish masonic plot to dominate the world and other forms of paranoid anti-Semitism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco is Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna and one of the world's most famous -- and admired -- writers. His is the author of the novels In the Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, Baudolino and The Island of the Day Before.

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