In the history of Western culture we find lists of saints, rosters of soldiers, catalogues of grotesque creatures or medicinal plants, and hordes of treasure. The poetics of lists can be found from Homer to Joyce, from the treasures of Gothic cathedrals to the fantastic landscapes of Bosch and cabinets of curiosities, until we get to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst in the 20th century. This illustrated essay is accompanied by a literary anthology and a wide selection of works of art illustrating the texts presented.
’This might be the perfect third book for the desert island: the only one which could be installed there along with Shakespeare and the Bible and find an equal number of fascinated, disparate readers. It is the ultimate dippable book' The Tablet. — The Tablet
'A characteristic product of this extraordinary writer and polymath: learned, sparkling, insightful, provocative, packed full of intriguing and arcane information' Mary Beard in Guardian. — Guardian
'A lavish, curious catalogue about catalogues . Eco has always had an eclectic, esoteric mind, and a meander around the byways of his brain is a joy indeed' Scotland on Sunday. — Scotland on Sunday
'Flaunting his extraordinary erudition but flaunting it modestly ... the book is gorgeously illustrated, a beautiful object ... its creamy pages are a pleasure to turn, its various typefaces are not just elegant but appropriate to the needs of the text, its illustrations a joy to study, its translation impeccable' Gilbert Adair in the Spectator. — Spectator