Confessions of a Young Novelist

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Confessions of a Young Novelist (2011) contains four essays that were originally delivered as lectures through The Richard Ellman Lectures in Modern Literature at Emory University.


Writing from Left to Right

Author, Text, and Interpreters

Some Remarks on Fictional Characters

My Lists


  • "It is obvious why people make practical lists. But why do they make poetic ones?"
  • Eco discusses various categories of lists, examples from literature.
  • "The only true purpose of a good list is to convey the idea of infinity and the vertigo of the etcetera." (highlights mine)
  • flatus vocis - the pure pleasure of the sound - and lists
  • to convey the ineffable
  • examples from Borges, Joyce, and Eco's own novels.
  • Properties vs essence - pretty vague stuff.
  • Excess
  • Chaotic lists, chaotic enumeration