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The Book of Legendary Lands

The Book of Legendary Lands

Umberto Eco


Fable, folklore, and (to a far lesser extent) fictional lands, explored with the clarity one would expect of Eco. This book is a joy to read, with key excerpts from source works included after the discussion in each chapter, and it's full of wonderful images, of paintings especially, that show the parallel visual arts associated with each of the chosen lands.

Again as one would expect from Eco, the last chapter is a philosophical discussion of the nature of truth when applied to legends: we "know" what happens in a legend, and so recognise any revisionist or alternative reading as "fictional" even though the original was fictional also. It's an interesting and worthwhile discussion that in many ways crystalises the points made in the concrete earlier chapters.

4/5. Finished 19 April 2021.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)

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