One Wishes One Had Been There

Umberto EcoFrom the obituary of Umberto Eco who died last week, The New York Times, February 20, 2016:

…The British novelist Salman Rushdie, in a scathing review in The London Observer, derided Mr. Eco’s 1988 novel, Foucault’s Pendulum, as “humorless, devoid of character, entirely free of anything resembling a credible spoken word, and mind-numbingly full of gobbledygook of all sorts.”

Appearing alongside Mr. Rushdie at a literary panel in New York in 2008, Mr. Eco wryly chose to read from Foucault’s Pendulum.

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2 responses to “One Wishes One Had Been There

  1. David Schatzky

    Here’s an excerpt from an interview conducted by Alain Elkann in July 2004.

    It leads one to ask if Eco was ever ill enough to read any works by Rushdie…

    Elkann: What is your favourite kind of reading material?

    Eco: I only read fiction at night before going to sleep. Reading during the day would be like taking time away from more important works. Sure, there have been exceptions. Two years ago, for example, I was ill for a week, and I reread Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain in the afternoon. Years ago I had pneumonia, and I ended up in the hospital where I reread War and Peace. I have to be ill to read fiction in daylight.

  2. This begs the question “how very ill would Mr. Eco have to be to read the novelist Salman Rushdie? I find it hard to consider the two in the same breath.