Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Rewrite the Encyclopaedia

Umberto Eco’s understanding of the necessity of openness of critical inquiry to revision: ‘the cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopaedia’ [Serendipities: Language and Lunacy (1998)]. Actually there is a group of people who undertake to rewrite the encyclopedia along wholly new and unprepeared-for lines; they are called science fiction writers, and the activity is known as ‘worldbuilding’. This isn’t what Eco meant, more's the pity; it's what he should have meant.

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