Sunday, October 20, 2002

Playing with Umberto Eco

In a New York Times article, Eco discusses the love letters in his latest book, the making of history and truth, memory and the Internet:

"It is a real epistolary exchange of love letters that was discovered recently." Mr. Eco then took these genuine letters and made his fictional hero, Baudolino, their author. "That was my idea," he said, "to invent enormous lies that produce something true."

"If you want to become a man of letters and perhaps write some Histories one day, you must also lie and invent tales, otherwise your History would become monotonous," Otto, Baudolino's learned tutor, says to him at the beginning of the novel. "But you must act with restraint."

"The problem with the Internet is that it gives you everything, reliable material and crazy material," he said. `'So the problem becomes, how do you discriminate? The function of memory is not only to preserve, but also to throw away. If you remembered everything from your entire life, you would be sick."

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