on literature

[…] where we breathe the sense of the infinite and the undecideable only in the continuation of the parallel lines that his fifth postulate promises us in a way that is itself undecideable in the terms of the truth of the statement.


[…] it must not say more that what leads the reader to collaborate with the text by filling in the empty spaces and adding details on his own initiative. In other words, hypotyposis does not so much have to make us see, as make us want to see. [Les Sémaphores sous la Pluie]


In fact, to be precise, intertextual irony is not, strictly speaking a form of irony. Irony consists in saying not the opposite of the truth but the opposite what one presumes the interlocutor thinks is true. It is ironic to define a stupid person as very intelligent, but only if the addressee knows that the person is stupid. If he does not know, the the irony is missed, and what one has is only false information. Thus irony becomes simply a lie when the addressee is not aware of the game.  [Intertextual Irony & Levels of Reading]


I remember the shivers I experienced as a young man, feeling so marginalized as a young homosexual in Victorian society, when I discovered that the Anglo-Saxon tradition had continued to take Aristotle’s poetics seriously, and without interruption. [The Poetics and Us]

Umberto Eco, on literature

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