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Eco, Umberto (Translated by Richard Dixon). THE PRAGUE CEMETERY. New York City, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2011. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 455 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's sixth novel. One of Umberto Eco's greatest achievements. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Umberto Eco's "Cimiterio di Praga" in a felicitous English translation. Regarded by critics and readers alike as possibly the author's finest novel since "The Name Of The Rose" (1983), the historical novel-cum-detective thriller genre that he single-handedly invented (and countless lesser others imitated). Eco proposes the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories: That there is a lone evil mastermind behind all of the great conspiracies that have changed the course of history. Freemasonry, the Italian Risorgimento, the Paris Commune, the Dreyfus Affair, Jesuit-inspired power grabs, state espionage, and above all, the forgery of the anti-Semitic "The Protocols of The Elders of Zion", the inspiration for Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust. One monstrous evil genius instigated and set them all in motion. Eco's riveting literary conceit is to imagine as fully and convincingly as possible this fictitious character in a novel where all of the other characters actually existed and all of the events actually happened. His point is pointed and devastating: That self-fulfilling conspiracy theories, the modern form of ancient superstitions that humans have never vanquished, are the inexorable driving force of our Modern Age. "I am recounting things that really happened. The fact that History can be quite so devious may cause the reader's brow to become lightly beaded with sweat. He will look anxiously behind him, switch on all the lights, and suspect that these things could happen again today. And he will think as I do: They are among us" (Umberto Eco). Time flies: One looked forward to a new Umberto Eco book with reliable, nearly annual, regularity, and even if, lest one forget, the book in question needed to be translated first - with the author's complete involvement and full blessing - before it could actually be published. Those of us who were fortunate enough to see and hear him in person knew first-hand that apart from being a ground-breaking scholar, philosopher, cultural critic ("semiotician"), and literary artist/novelist, Eco was a fastidious polylinguist whose command of the English language was better than most native speakers'. Umberto Eco died on February 19, 2016 at the age of 84, the exact same day as Harper Lee, another literary icon of the less prolific kind, who died at the age of 89. They will both be missed. An absolute "must-have" title for Umberto Eco collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Umberto Eco. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. Eco signed his name in full (as opposed to the more common "U. Eco"), and his signature is clean, flowing, and elegant. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Many copies available online command between $150 and more. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A rare signed copy thus. Lavishly illustrated with black-and-white plates of original etchings from the author's vast personal collection. One of the greatest writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER UMBERTO ECO TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0547577532. $80.00

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