Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Open Work' keyword pg.1 of 1

Umberto Eco: The Virtual Imagination

"But many internet programs suggest that a story is enriched by successive contributions. … This has sometimes happened in the past without disturbing authorship. With the Commedia dell'arte, every performance was different. We cannot identify a single work due to a single author. Another example is a jazz jam session. We may believe there is a privileged performance of 'Basin Street Blues' because a recording survives. But there were as many Basin Street Blues as there were performances. ... There are books that we cannot rewrite because their function is to teach us about Necessity, and only if they are respected as they are can they provide us with such wisdom. Their repressive lesson is indispensable to reach a higher state of intellectual and moral freedom."

(Umberto Eco, 7 November 2000)



2000authorial signatureauthoritative workauthorship • Basin Street Blues • biographybooks • books-to-be-read • booksellersbookstoresCinderella • closed universe • Commedia dellarte • comprehending languagecomputers • copying machine • e-bookelectronic literatureencyclopaediaend of booksend of print • enriched by successive contributions • every performance is different • evolving formfairy talefatefolioFranz Kafkafuture of the book • god passed over • grammatical rulesheroeshypertexthypertext fiction • hypertextual programme • hypertextual structures • Immanuel Kant • infinite possibilities • infinite texts • intellectual freedom • intellectual needs • jazz jam session • Les Miserables • library catalogue • linear narrative • linearityLittle Red Riding Hoodmanuscripts • moral freedom • Napoleon Bonapartenatural language • necessity • new forms of literacy • obsolete form • open work • Penguin edition • photocopierprint on demand • printed books • printed version • privileged performance • publishing houses • publishing modelreaderly textsreading • reading process • revisionscanningselectionshift to digital • single author • specificity of print • systems and text • tailored consumer experience • texts which can be interpreted in infinite ways • theories of interpretation • tragic beauty • tragic literature • Umberto Eco • unlimited texts • utilitarian value • Victor Hugo • War and Peace • Waterloo • William Shakespeare


Simon Perkins
08 OCTOBER 2003

Eco: The Open Work

"[Umberto] Eco, quoting Henri Pousseur, defines the 'open' work as one that 'produces in the interpreter acts of conscious freedom, putting him at the centre of a net of inexhaustible relations among which he inserts his own form' (4). Eco's study, which examines Joyce, Alexander Calder, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pousseur, and other contemporary and near–contemporary artists, opposes this concept to the traditional closed work, which allows the reader or viewer far less choice in interpretation. The categories are ideal––no work can be completely open or closed––but they function well in making distinctions between different kinds of art. What is more important, adopting the proper attitude toward an open work has political and social ramifications: the open work denies conventional views of the world, replacing them with a sense of its discontinuity, disorder, and dissonance. Eco considers the alienation attendant on this realisation as beneficial, since from this feeling of crisis, one may derive a new way of seeing, feeling, and understanding a social order in which traditional relationships have been shattered."
(Deborah Parker)


Alexander Calder • conscious freedom • James JoyceKarlheinz Stockhausenopenopen work • Parker • Pousseur • Umberto Eco

to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.