The European Legacy 13 (1):59-81 (2008)

Abstract
While the traditional boulevard novel of Eugène Sue wants to entertain and sell, Umberto Eco's boulevard novel wants to entertain and educate the contemporary reader in Italian history and in a form of modern semiotic theory. However, Eco's educational mission does not transform the low genre of the boulevard novel but remains bound by its limitations of “rhetoric and ideology.” Eco's reader is left with a representation of history as pastiche and a populist misconception about the potential of semiotics to relativise the perception of reality. Both history and semiotics are ultimately used by Eco not as heuristic devices but as instruments of seduction directed at a modern middle-class reading public with intellectual aspirations.
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DOI 10.1080/10848770701830757
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