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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly charming, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
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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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, inspiring and also sophisticated book!, 27 Nov. 2013
By 
Thorwald Franke (Frankfurt am Main) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (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. Also does Umberto Eco not repeat the terrible tale that Aristotle allegedly considered Plato's Atlantis explicitly to be an invention (cf. on the clarification of this common misconception: Franke: Aristotle and Atlantis, 2012). Also much more learned than the usual nonsense is Eco's opinion that assertions of the truth of a story since Lucian's "True History" sound like an indicator for a fictional story - this is well said: Since Lucian, but not yet in Plato's time!

Conclusion:

As we can see with the Atlantis example, real quality is offered to the reader! This is not just a copy-paste collage labelled with "Umberto Eco", but this is really the polymath Umberto Eco himself who presents to the great pleasure of the reader the colourful variety of his knowledge about various legendary places in word and picture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
A wonderful work - like all the other works by Umberto Eco!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
great!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real feast, 28 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
Once again, Umberto Eco does not disappoint. The perfect companion to 'the infinity of lists' & his 'beauty/ugliness' books.

Fantastic.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, inspiring and also sophisticated book!, 27 Nov. 2013
By 
Thorwald Franke (Frankfurt am Main) - See all my reviews
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. Also does Umberto Eco not repeat the terrible tale that Aristotle allegedly considered Plato's Atlantis explicitly to be an invention (cf. on the clarification of this common misconception: Franke: Aristotle and Atlantis, 2012). Also much more learned than the usual nonsense is Eco's opinion that assertions of the truth of a story since Lucian's "True History" sound like an indicator for a fictional story - this is well said: Since Lucian, but not yet in Plato's time!

Conclusion:

As we can see with the Atlantis example, real quality is offered to the reader! This is not just a copy-paste collage labelled with "Umberto Eco", but this is really the polymath Umberto Eco himself who presents to the great pleasure of the reader the colourful variety of his knowledge about various legendary places in word and picture.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wander here for hours, 6 Dec. 2014
By 
Mark Lamb "Mark Lamb" (Scarborough, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
Comprehensive and well written exploration of 'other'
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1 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Legendary Lands (Hardcover)
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my father at his request. No idea what he makes of it yet.
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The Book of Legendary Lands
The Book of Legendary Lands by Umberto Eco (Hardcover - 7 Nov. 2013)
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