The Miami Herald’s review of Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Apparently it has an ‘existentialist’ undercurrent since “Eco uses [the protagonist] Yambo's condition to raise all sorts of philosophical questions, specifically about the big-e Existentialist notion that being is becoming. Existentialism, you may recall, was the school of thought that reached its zenith in the occupied France of World War II. One idea behind the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre and others is that a person's identity, his essence, isn't innate but rather is determined by the choices he makes”. Further, “Yambo is a classic Existentialist hero in that he has no essence other than what he is able to recreate for himself using the material possessions around him. He soon returns home to his wife and his rare-books business but his memory has become a pastiche made up of far-flung literary allusions and the swatches of poetry that come to him through the fog of his amnesia”.
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