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Echoes from Umberto

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:13 IST

Hindustan Times
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There's a glorious feeling that overcomes any booklover when an expensive contemporary classic, becomes extremely affordable.

In a tieup with the British publishing house Phoenix, Research Press has republished some great titles. On top of the pile is Umberto Eco's 1998 collection of essays Serendipities: Language and Lunacy (Rs 175).

Eco is in his most erudite and wittiest best as he tackles the matter of myths and errors with no basis in facts producing "interesting side effects".

Apart from the obvious Columbian ‘error' of missing India for the Americas, we have fascinating trails about how the ‘flat Earth theory' was concocted as a smear campaign against the Church fathers to showcase their ‘superstitious backwardness, and how the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, responsible for a blast of anti-semitism was a morphed product from a novel that was critiquing the Jesuits.

In delightful prose, Eco plays the iconoclast. It's a book definitely worth having.