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The Book of Legendary Lands Hardcover – 7 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press; First UK edition edition (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085705287X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857052872
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 3.2 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'The illustrations are fabulous evocations of places their makers could see only in their mind's-eyes ... Eco's book is a reminder that writers and readers once travelled widely and magnificently, without ever leaving their homes or their heads' Ben Macintyre, The Times.

From the Inside Flap

In the tradition of On Beauty, On Ugliness and The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco presents an enthralling and erudite illustrated tour of the fabled places that have awed and eluded us through the ages. From the epic poems of Homer to contemporary science fiction, from the Holy Scriptures to modern mythology and fairy tale, literature and art are full of illusory places we have at some time believed are real, and onto which we have projected our dreams, ideals and fears. Umberto Eco leads us on an illuminating journey through these legendary lands - Atlantis, Thule and Hyperborea, the Earth's interior and the Land of Cockaigne - and explores utopias and dystopias where our imagination can confront concepts that are too incredible, or too challenging, for our limited real world. In The Book of Legendary Lands the author's text is accompanied by several hundred carefully assembled works of art and literature; the result is a beautifully illustrated volume with broad and enduring appeal.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Korhomme on 22 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book of places that don't exist, charmingly illustrated; a shortish introduction of each place is followed by extracts from the original texts. The whole is a product of great scholarship, but this isn't a heavy academic textbook, it's very readable. And great fun.

It's not in anyway complete. I was rather sad that Hy-Brasil, that amazing island off Ireland, wasn't included. But there is so much else, something for everyman.
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By Klaus H. on 3 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful work - like all the other works by Umberto Eco!
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thorwald Franke on 27 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Umberto Eco managed to write a book which is fully equal to similar already existing works such as "The Atlas of Legendary Lands" or "Lost Lands, Forgotten Realms". Very convincing the selection of images: There are several we did not know, yet. From an aesthetic point of view a really beautiful book! And very convincing, too, the textual elaboration.

On the basis of Atlantis for example we see clearly that Umberto Eco did not just copy what others repeated already a thousand times. Rather did Umberto Eco find even in this controversial issue his own convincing path.

In detail on this example: For Eco, the history of the various Atlantis localizations is not - as so often - a menacing climax with National Socialism as culmination (wagging forefinger!). It is rather a journey through history with National Socialism as one stop of several. Olof Rudbeck, too, is no crackpot "baroque Nazi" for Eco but a serious baroque scholar, who just erred. Someone like Umberto Eco knows how to place these things properly, of course. In the video for the book the connection of Hyperborea (astonishingly not: Atlantis) to the Holocaust is drawn too closely: as if someone who reads and thinks about the ancient Hyperborea (resp. Atlantis) would become a National Socialist ... well, it is only the video, therefore let's forget it.

Let us leave the vexed and vain NS topic and come to Atlantis itself: Already in his "Foucault's Pendulum" Eco was pleasently reserved concerning Atlantis - this applies here, too. The Atlantis map of the baroque scholar Athanasius Kircher is called correctly a map of the "site" of Atlantis, not as a map which allegedly displays the exact shape of Atlantis.
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By Alias on 19 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great!
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