Umberto Eco explores the most distant realms of our imagination
In the tradition of On Beauty, On Ugliness and The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco presents an enthralling and erudite illustrated tour of the fabled places that have awed and eluded us through the ages.
From the epic poems of Homer to contemporary science fiction, from the Holy Scriptures to modern mythology and fairy tale, literature and art are full of illusory places we have at some time believed are real, and onto which we have projected our dreams, ideals and fears. Umberto Eco leads us on an illuminating journey through these legendary lands - Atlantis, Thule and Hyperborea, the Earth's interior and the Land of Cockaigne - and explores utopias and dystopias where our imagination can confront concepts that are too incredible, or too challenging, for our limited real world.
In The Book of Legendary Lands the author's text is accompanied by several hundred carefully assembled works of art and literature; the result is a beautifully illustrated volume with broad and enduring appeal.
Eco's book is a reminder that writers and readers once travelled widely and magnificently, without ever leaving their homes or their heads, to places that retained their truth in our imaginations long after mundane reality overtook them. - The Times
It was love at first sight, What a stunning, great explosion of colour! Wonderful. - Big Issue in Scotland
Prolonged scrutiny of such seductive utopias would turn anyone into a believer. - Radar, The Independent
Presented by Eco in light and witty prose, these legendary places are made more vivid by many well-chosen illustrations and historic texts. - New Statesman
Eco is our witty and erudite travel guide through these fantastical and theoretical worlds. - Catholic Herald
You'll soon realise that the same sparkling intelligence that characterises Eco's "serious" writing is also at work here. - Times Literary Supplement
Placing ancient and medieval texts beside contemporary stories, films beside poems, comics beside novels, it is a journey that is both erudite and enjoyable, and one that only Eco could have created. - PSYCHIC
Umberto Eco's first novel, The Name of the Rose (1982), was a huge bestseller which brought him worldwide acclaim. With his subsequent works of fiction, philosophy, literary criticism and semiotics, he has been recognised as one of Europe's finest thinkers. He is currently President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Humanistici and the University of Bologna.