Jonathan Smith (Prifysgol Abertawe / Swansea University)

The conference theme prompts a review of Eco's theoretical work bearing on literature, since around 1968: Kant and the Platypus (1997) documents a degree of continuity over this period, and selected motifs from On Literature (2002) are elucidated by reference to this context. Salient among them are synecdochic representation, by literature, of other configurations of human meaning, and the disjunction of concept and experience central to Eco's aesthetics: the work is never equal to itself, and so, despite its synecdochic value, defies valuation relative to anything else. Hence a challenge to the market ideologies elsewhere consolidated since the 1970s.