Umberto Eco takes shopping list to the Louvre

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Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco is being given carte blanche at the Louvre museum this year, the latest eminent citizen of the world to be given a free hand in one of the world's top art houses.

Eco, probably best known for the medieval novel and film "The Name of the Rose", on Wednesday announced six weeks of concerts, exhibitions and lectures from 2 November under the title "The Dizziness of the List."

When asked what book he would take to a desert island, Eco answered that he would take a telephone directory, because "with all those names I could make up marvellous stories."

The events being organised by Eco involve classifications, inventories, numbering, accumulation and litanies.

"There are practical lists such as supermarket shopping lists that enumerate finite numbers and there are poetic lists with no end that are dizzying," he said.

A museum, he added, was "a living list because there are 10,000 different visits through the works that are hung there, and those they make us imagine."

The 77-year-old is the fifth figure to be offered a carte blanche by the Louvre after contemporary French composer Pierre Boulez, German artist Anselm Kiefer, French lawyer Robert Badinter and US writer Toni Morrisson.


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