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How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays

Overview

In these “impishly witty and ingeniously irreverent” essays (Atlantic Monthly), “the Andy Rooney of academia” (Los Angeles Times) takes on computer jargon, librarians, bureaucrats, meals on airplanes, bad coffee, taxi drivers, 33-function watches, soccer fans, and more. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

Once a columnist for an Italian literary magazine, Eco now shares his acute and highly entertaining sense...

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How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays

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Overview

In these “impishly witty and ingeniously irreverent” essays (Atlantic Monthly), “the Andy Rooney of academia” (Los Angeles Times) takes on computer jargon, librarians, bureaucrats, meals on airplanes, bad coffee, taxi drivers, 33-function watches, soccer fans, and more. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

Once a columnist for an Italian literary magazine, Eco now shares his acute and highly entertaining sense of the absurd in modern life in these essays about militarism, computerese, cowboy and Indian movies, art criticism, librarians, semiotics, and much more--including himself.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156001250
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Series: Harvest Book Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,384,392
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Umberto Eco

UMBERTO ECO is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the best-selling author of numerous novels and essays. He lives in Italy.

Biography

Back in the 1970s, long before the cyberpunk era or the Internet boom, an Italian academic was dissecting the elements of codes, information exchange and mass communication. Umberto Eco, chair of semiotics at the University of Bologna, developed a widely influential theory that continues to inform studies in linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies and critical theory.

Most readers, however, had never heard of him before the 1980 publication of The Name of the Rose, a mystery novel set in medieval Italy. Dense with historical and literary allusions, the book was a surprise international hit, selling millions of copies in dozens of languages. Its popularity got an additional boost when it was made into a Hollywood movie starring Sean Connery. Eco followed his first bestseller with another, Foucault's Pendulum, an intellectual thriller that interweaves semiotic theory with a twisty tale of occult texts and world conspiracy.

Since then, Eco has shifted topics and genres with protean agility, producing fiction, academic texts, criticism, humor columns and children's books. As a culture critic, his interests encompass everything from comic books to computer operating systems, and he punctures avant-garde elitism and mass-media vacuity with equal glee.

More recently, Eco has ventured into a new field: ethics. Belief or Nonbelief? is a thoughtful exchange of letters on religion and ethics between Eco and Carlo Maria Martini, the Roman Catholic cardinal of Milan; Five Moral Pieces is a timely exploration of the concept of justice in an increasingly borderless world.

Eco also continues to write books on language, literature and semiotics for both popular and academic audiences. His efforts have netted him a pile of honorary degrees, the French Legion of Honor, and a place among the most widely read and discussed thinkers of our time.

Good To Know

Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, though in 2002 he was at Oxford University as a visiting lecturer. He has also taught at several top universities in the U.S., including Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Northwestern.

Pressured by his father to become a lawyer, Eco studied law at the University of Turn before abandoning that course (against his father's wishes) and pursuing medieval philosophy and literature.

His studies led naturally to the setting of The Name of the Rose in the medieval period. The original tentative title was Murder in the Abbey.

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    1. Hometown:
      Bologna, Italy
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 5, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Alessandria, Italy
    1. Education:
      Ph.D., University of Turin, 1954

Table of Contents

Preface 1
How to Travel with a Salmon 5
How to Replace a Driver's License 9
How to Eat in Flight 19
How to Go Through Customs 23
How to Travel on American Trains 27
How to Take Intelligent Vacations 31
How to Use the Taxi Driver 35
How Not to Talk about Soccer 39
How to Use the Coffeepot from Hell 43
How to React to Familiar Faces 46
How to Be a TV Host 50
How Not to Know the Time 56
Stars and Stripes 60
Conversation in Babylon 92
On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1 95
How to Eat Ice Cream 107
How It Begins, and How It Ends 111
How to Justify a Private Library 115
How to Compile an Inventory 118
How to Spend Time 122
How to Buy Gadgets 126
How to Follow Instructions 138
How to Become a Knight of Malta 142
How to Deal with Telegrams 146
How Not to Use the Fax Machine 150
How Not to Use the Cellular Phone 154
Three Owls on a Chest of Drawers 158
Editorial Revision 176
Sequels 180
How to Use Suspension Points 184
How to Write an Introduction 188
How to Write an Introduction to an Art Catalogue 192
How to Set the Record Straight 202
How to Watch Out for Widows 205
How to Organize a Public Library 209
How to Speak of Animals 213
How to Play Indians 217
How to Recognize a Porn Movie 222
How to Avoid Contagious Diseases 226
How to Choose a Remunerative Profession 230
The Miracle of San Baudolino 234
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