Every so often, I start to fancy myself an intellectual. I’m an educated woman with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I can hang with smart folks when talking about literature and discussing symbolism, deconstruction, post-modernism, so on and so forth. If I put my mind to it, I can even have semi-coherent conversations about Lacanian and Freudian interpretations of literature. Hear me roar, I am better-read than the average bear, and I remember the bare bones of a few philosophers’ and psychoanalysts’ writings.
If ever I need to be taken down a peg, however, all I need to do is open anything non-fiction written by Umberto Eco. Even his fiction can be brain-melting (I think anyone who reads Dan Brown should give The Name of the Rose or Foucault’s Pendulum a try), though I enjoy reading his stories.
Eco’s non-fiction is written on a whole different level than that to which I am accustomed. I’ve had Kant and the Platypus on my bookshelf for a couple years now, and it something I have to repeatedly put down, then come back to later when I’ve done copious amounts of background reading. I might finish it thirty years from now, after reading and studying Kant as I never did in college and then going off on ancillary philosophical reading binges.
Maybe (maybe!) by that point I’ll be able to wrap my head around some of his essays. I love the challenge, and the growth Mr. Eco is forcing me into whenever attempt one of the essays in this collection.
If you want to think more deeply on the meaning of the meaning of “being” than you ever thought you would, Kant and the Platypus is a great way to a) learn, b) think deeply and c) humble your ego.
I’m going to go un-melt my brain and lose myself in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter world now. (Oh, look, my interests are versatile, too!)
Visit the author’s Web site.