January 29th, 2006

Travels in Hyper-Reality: "Dreaming of the Middle Ages" -- Eco

- discusses recent increases in interest in "responsible philological" examinations and reconstructions of the past (pp. 63-64)

- "All the problems of the Western world emerged in the Middle Ages: Modern languages, merchant cities, capitalistic economy (along with banks, checks and prime rate) are inventions of medieval society" (p. 64).

- catalog of inventions/ideas which began in the M. Ages on p.64

- considers the M.Ages the contemporary man's "primal scene" p. 65

- "The Middle Ages turned us into Western animals" --> people must have been dreaming of the Middle Ages since the beginning of the modern era

- mentions John of St. Thomas/Jean Poinset, saying he is to thank for "one of the most outstanding achievements in the theory of signs" (p. 66)  LOOK HIM UP.

- opposes models of "philological reconstruction" and "utilitarian bricolage" in his explanation of how/which Middle Ages are constructed

- "We [contemporaries, moderns, scholars] have cobbled up the bank as well as the cathedral, the state as well as the church" (p. 68).

- "Since the Middle Ages have always been messed up in order to meet the vital requirements of different periods..." (p. 68).

- "Ten Little Middle Ages": 1- as a pretext  2- as the site of an ironical revisitation  3- a barbaric age  4- of Romanticism  5- philosophia perennis or neo-Thomism  6- national identities  7- of Decadentism  8- philological reconstruction  9- so-called Tradition or occult philosophy  10-expectation of the Millenium

- Eco says we need to ask ourselves which M.Ages are we returning to.