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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Eco's tic
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 14:29:29 

On Tue, 25 Aug 1998 m.driussi@genie.com wrote:

> But mainly I want to argue that FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM, which I didn't
> like very much (agreeing with you, I'm guessing), is on second glance
> rather a lot like THE NAME OF THE ROSE (which I liked better).  They
> both in their conclusions involve a destruction of the "fiction"
> which has been so carefully built up between the author and the
> reader over the course of the novel.
> This amounts to a visceral "thumbing of the nose" or sucker punch
> from Eco to reader.  Very po-mo.

Yep.  I think FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM is the only novel I've ever read that
deliberately bores the reader as a literary device.  But when something
finally happens near the end, it hit me like a thunderclap.  I'm not sure
the payoff was worth the rest of the book, which I made my way through
mostly crusing on goodwill from THE NAME OF THE ROSE.

THE NAME OF THE ROSE was sort of a Book of Gold for me.  I picked it up
either in late high school or early college expecting nothing more than a
good mystery with a novel setting.  At that time I had no interest in
"literature," disliking most books I had to read at school and prefering
SF along the lines of Asimov and Niven.  Eco's book introduced me to
pleasures I hadn't encountered in a novel before, and although I didn't
immediately seek out similar books, I think it had some effect on the
direction my aesthetic tastes went.  Had I taken other paths, I doubt I
would have enjoyed Wolfe when I met him in SHADOW OF THE TORTURER.

I think all the pomo stuff went completely over my head.  I have a vague
memory of thinking the end was weird and not entirely satisfying, but it
was overwhelmed by my love for the book as a whole.

I haven't actually reread NAME OF THE ROSE since then.  I really should. 
I wonder if I'll be disappointed?  (I know, I know, "You found the Book of
Gold and you only read it once?!?) 


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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