by Rana Mukherjee
Hi! I read your analyses on Eco. Myself also faced the same problem, say... of chronological detachment while reading Eco few years back. So the process of cracking the outer shell of the story before penetrating the grand and polyvalent internal pattern required, in my case, a conscious effort. Same happened when I encountered Calvino when I was a student @ C.U. Then I was learning to understand the meaning and extent of `Modernism and Post-modernism` under K.Sen. There I was told that Italian literary history departs, in some respects, from the standard treatment of twentieth-century literature in other European literatures and in American criticism because of an important current of Italian critical thought that employed the term il decadentismo (decadentism) to define what other literary cultures would have called Modernist. Because of our Westernized academic training, we generally held a specific school of writers as the pioneers of such literary debate! But interstingly, the major authors of Western modernism, such as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, or Jorge Luis Borges (to mention only a few) were less influential forces in Italian culture before World War II than elsewhere, although in the postwar period, their works were widely read, imitated, and analyzed. And these exposure to the current literary debates perhaps have led the contemporary critics, both within Italy and abroad, to regard Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco unanimously as postmodernist masters. Hope you don't take this as very serious input...