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“We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die”

In this interview with Der Spiegel, Umberto Eco talks about an exhibition he’s curating at the Louvre. It’s all about lists, particular their use in art and literature. “How does a person feel when looking at the sky?” says Eco. “He thinks that he doesn’t have enough tongues to describe what he sees. Nevertheless, people have never stopping describing the sky…”

1 thought on ““We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die”

  1. I echo Eco’s love of the list. I never thought of lists as a way of forestalling death.

    When I think of lists I think of William Gass’s “I’ve Got a Little List. He writes:
    “The list is the fundamental rhetorical form for creating a sense of abundance, overflow, excess. We find it so used in writers with an appetite for life from Rabelais and Cervantes, or from Burton to Browne, to Barth and Elkin.”

    So now Eco’s tome The Vertigo of Lists : An Illustrated Essay goes on my ever-expanding wish list.

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