The Island of the Day Before

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Overview

After a violent storm in the South Pacific the year is 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked - on a ship. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of an international race to establish the Punto Fijo of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his ...
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1996 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 528 p. Audience: General/trade.

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1996 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 528 p. Audience: General/trade.

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New York, NY, U.S.A. 1996 Soft Cover New 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall 0140259198.

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1996 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches 528 p. A 17th-century nobleman is stranded upon a deserted ship in semiotician Eco's latest.

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New York, NY 1996 Soft Cover First Edition, First Printing Collectible-New in None as Issued jacket First Edition, First Printing BRAND NEW & Collectible. Originally published ... in Italian under the title L'Isola del Giorno Prima. Journals of Robert della Griva, 17th century nobleman, shipwrecked and and cast up on a deserted ship anchored in the bay of a beautiful island he cannot reach. Masterful storytelling from Italian meadievalist and novelist Umberto Eco (1932-) who gave us The Name of a Rose (Il Nome della Rosa, 1980). Fine copy. Read more Show Less

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The Island of the Day Before

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Overview

After a violent storm in the South Pacific the year is 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked - on a ship. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of an international race to establish the Punto Fijo of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitudes, the four moons of Jupiter, and the Flood.

In 1643, in still-uncharted Antipodean waters, Roberto, a young nobleman in exile, survives the wreck of his ship and lands on another ship, the mysterious and deserted Daphne, which is anchored just across the Date Line from an island surrounded by treacherous reef. If Roberto can reach the island, when time is always yesterday, can he correct his past? Simultaneous hardcover release from Harcourt Brace. 4 cassettes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this tale of an Italian nobleman shipwrecked in the South Pacific in 1643, Eco's storytelling abilities and his love for esoteric historical detail, so beautifully balanced in The Name of the Rose, are sadly out of kilter, with the arcana overwhelming the plot. As part of a cabal instigated by French Cardinal Mazarin and his protg Colbert, Robert della Griva has been traveling in disguise on an English ship whose mission is to discover the Punto Fijo, the means by which navigators can plumb ``the mystery of longitude.'' Cast adrift during a storm, Roberto fetches up against another ship, the Daphne, whose crew has mysteriously vanished. Although the vessel is moored only a mile from an enchanting island (the two may be on opposite sides of the date line, giving the book its title), Roberto, a nonswimmer, is as marooned as though in mid-ocean. The text consists of a third-person narrator's retelling of Roberto's manuscript recounting his adventures on the ship and such previous experiences as his participation in the siege of Casale and life among the erudite of Paris. There are some magical descriptions of Roberto's moonlit solitude aboard the Daphne, but the introduction of a third story line involving his imaginary evil twin hopelessly tangles a narrative already overloaded with lengthy exegeses on such obscure 17th-century devices as the Powder of Sympathy and the Specula Melitensis. Eco's postmodernist gameshe directly addresses the reader, explaining how little the narrator knowswear thin, and some delightfully secondary characters who appear too briefly only remind us how unfocused the novel is. Perhaps Eco himself was aware of the novel's faults when writing itfor his narrator criticizes Roberto's tale as ``narrating so many stories at once that at a certain point it becomes difficult to pick up the thread.'' Author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Eco, an Italian philosopher and best-selling novelist, is a great polymathic fabulist in the tradition of Swift, Voltaire, Joyce, and Borges. The Name of the Rose, which sold 50 million copies worldwide, is an experimental medieval whodunit set in a monastic library. In 1327, Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate heresy among the monks in an Italian abbey; a series of bizarre murders overshadows the mission. Within the mystery is a tale of books, librarians, patrons, censorship, and the search for truth in a period of tension between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The book became a hit despite some obscure passages and allusions. This deftly abridged version, ably performed by Theodore Bikel, retains the genius of the original but is far more accessible. Foucault's Pendulum, Eco's second novel, is a bit irritating. The plot consists of three Milan editors who concoct a series on the occult for an unscrupulous publishing house that Eco ridicules mercilessly. The work details medieval phenomena including the Knights Templar, an ancient order with a scheme to dominate the world. Unfortunately, few listeners will make sense of this failed thriller. The Island of the Day Before is an ingenious tale that begins with a shipwreck in 1643. Roberta della Griva survives and boards another ship only to find himself trapped. Flashbacks give us Renaissance battles, the French court, spies, intriguing love affairs, and the attempt to solve the problem of longitude. It's a world of metaphors and paradoxes created by an entertaining scholar. Tim Curry, who also narrates Foucault's Pendulum, provides a spirited narration. Ultimately, libraries should avoid Foucault's Pendulum, but educated patrons will form an eager audience for both The Name of the Rose and The Island of the Day Before.James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y.
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE ISLAND OF THE DAY BEFORE

"As wonderfully exotic as only Eco can contrive . . . An astonishing intellectual journey."—San Francisco Chronicle

"A masterpiece . . . intellectually stimulating and dramatically intriguing."—Chicago Tribune

From Barnes & Noble
Swept overboard in a violent storm, Roberto dell Griva pulls himself aboard another ship anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the hold, he remembers chapters from his youth: his imaginary evil brother; the loss of his father; lessons on fencing, love, and blasphemy; the salons of Paris; and more. A romance of navigation and science in the mid-17th century from the author of The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140259193
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/1996
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (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

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    This is an amazing book! Obviously the guy who gave it one star

    This is an amazing book!
    Obviously the guy who gave it one star has no clue what semiotics is.
    This is one of the books I would take with me if I would be cast away on an island for the rest of my life, and only allowed to take ten books with me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I would stay away from this book. It is as boring as it is confusing.

    Roberto de la Griva is an Italian nobleman from the 17th century. After a leisure living experience in Paris, he is accused of treason by Cardinal Richelieu's advisors and sent on to travel the Amaryllis to the South Pacific to discover the means by which navigators can understand the mystery of the "longitude." He is supposed to spy on the Dutchmen and report back to Richelieu.

    After a violent storm, Roberto finds himself shipwrecked. Swept from the Amaryllis, he manages to pull himself aboard the Daphne-anchored in the bay of a beautiful island.

    The Daphne is fully provisioned but the crew is missing. As he resolves to write a diary we learned from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale which cost him his father's death, and the lessons given him on fencing, blasphemy, and the writing of love letters.

    Soon he discovers that he is not alone on the Daphne-Father Caspar Casale, a Jesuit and scientist, is also obsessed with the problem of longitudes. Roberto and Caspar perform certain experiments-to no avail.

    The book is 503 pages and it basically deals with the mysteries of life and death: "I am not urging you to prepare for the next life, but to use well this, the only life that is given you, in order to face, when it does come, the only death you will ever experience. It is necessary to mediate early, and often, on the art of dying, to succeed later in doing it properly just once." (p. 132).

    Unfortunately the book is narrated by an unknown person, the point of view being universal and confusing. To quote the narrator: "We will remember, I hope-for Roberto has borrowed from the novelists of his century the habit of narrating so many stories at once that at a certain point it becomes difficult to pick up the thread." (p.423)

    And that is why I would stay away from this book. It is as boring as it is confusing.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2005

    Interesting Tale

    For all Eco lovers out there, this is a must-read. I must say I did enjoy this book, however it took me a very looooooonnng time to read this book. I wasn't compelled to take it everywhere with me and read every second I could as I did with other works by Eco. This book jumps back and forth in the main character Roberto's time and reality. There were very interesting statements made in the book that made me think (I suppose that is Eco's philosophy/semiotics background). The idea of being a castaway upon a ship is intriguing in itself, however I kept asking myself, 'Why doesn't Roberto just sail away on the ship back to civilization?' This is definitely not a 'mindless' novel. If you didn't care for the movie 'Castaway' with Tom Hanks, you probably won't like this book. But if you love 'Castaway' (like I do) you will surely love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Eco is masterful yet again

    Eco spins a marvelous tale that doesn't let up until the last page. This book will have you anxiously turning pages, and wanting more. Few authors have the ability to write this kind of complex prose. Yes this book is long and confusing at times, but the payoff is worth it. If you want a challenge with a wonderful reward, curl up with 'The Island of the Day Before.'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

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    Posted September 17, 2009

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    Posted February 9, 2010

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    Posted July 22, 2009

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