Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher, writer and semiotics professor, is dead at 84, reports the BBC.
Eco is most famous as the author of elaborate historical novels such as The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum, but my favorite is his book of shorts, Misreadings.
From it, here is his summary of the Bible, presented as an internal memo at a publishing house written by an editor rejecting the manuscript.
I must say that the first few hundred pages of this manuscript really hooked me. Action-packed, they have everything today's reader wants in a good story. Sex (lots of it, including adultery, sodomy, incest), also murder, war, massacres, and so on.
The Sodom and Gomorrah chapter, with the tranvestites putting the make on the angels, is worthy of Rabelais; the Noah stories are pure Jules Verne; the escape from Egypt cries out to be turned into a major motion picture . . . In other words, a real blockbuster, very well structured, with plenty of twists, full of invention, with just the right amount of piety, and never lapsing into tragedy.
But as I kept on reading, I realized that this is actually an anthology, involving several writers, with many--too many--stretches of poetry, and passages that are downright mawkish and boring, and jeremiads that make no sense.
The end result is a monster omnibus. It seems to have something for everybody, but ends up appealing to nobody. And acquiring the rights from all these different authors will mean big headaches, unless the editor takes care of that himself. The editor's name, by the way, doesn't appear anywhere on the manuscript, not even in the table of contents. Is there some reason for keeping his identity a secret?
I'd suggest trying to get the rights only to the first five chapters. We're on sure ground there. Also come up with a better title. How about The Red Sea Desperadoes?
Ronan O’Rahilly, founder of Radio Caroline, the first pirate radio station off the coast of the UK has died. O’Rahilly, who lived in Ireland, died from the vascular dementia he was diagnosed with in 2013. He was 79. Here is a brief obit on BBC News. And here is a funny bit of O’Rahilly history, […]
Renowned mathematician and beloved Princeton University professor, John Horton Conway, died this week (April 11) of COVID-19. He was 82. Conway is best known as the inventor of the hugely influential and inspirational artificial life program, The Game of Life. From the Princeton obit: “John Conway was an amazing mathematician, game wizard, polymath and storyteller […]
French artist Albert Uderzo, co-creator of legendary comic book characters Asterix and Obelix with writer René Goscinny, died at home ‘from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus.’ He was 92 years old. One of the best-loved characters in French popular culture, with more than 370m albums sold worldwide, 11 films and an Asterix theme […]
Even though it feels like Amazon is a singular retail juggernaut crushing everybody else, you might be surprised to learn that half of Amazon’s $280 billion in revenue last year came from third-party sellers. According to numbers compiled by JungleScout, 86 percent of Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) sellers were profitable last year, more than […]
Amidst all the deadly serious concern and fallout from our global battle against COVID-19, you’ve likely been forced to confront more than a few moments that you never expected to face. And you likely never felt sillier during this scary time than when you were racing all over town hoping desperately that some store had […]
“It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” – “Lonesome Dove,” Larry McMurtry If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared now more than ever. Emergency situations can happen quickly and there’s no telling when you may need […]