Reflections of the Author in Eco's The Island of the Day Before

Reflections of the Author in Eco's The Island of the Day Before

12 Pages · 2011 · 211 KB · English

labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face. Jorge Luis Borges. The Maker. To err is probably this: to go outside the space of encounter. Maurice Blanchot. The Infinite I believe, alone of all our race, the only man in human memory to have been shipwrecked and cast upon a deserted shi

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This is an author’s version of the article which appeared in Revista Atenea, ISSN 08856079, Vol 23 Year 2003 The Errant Auto biographer Reflections of the Author in Eco’s The Island of the Day Before Andrew Martino Southern New Hampshire University The Errant Autobiographer Reflections of the Author in Eco’s The Island of the Day Before A man sets out to draw the world As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals A short time before he dies, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face Jorge Luis Borges The Maker To err is probably this: to go outside the space of encounter Maurice Blanchot The Infinite Conversation Umberto Eco’s third novel, The Island of the Day Before (originally published in Italy in 1994), examines the notion of narrating or romanticizing a life In this highly complex and layered novel, Eco explores the role among author textreader Needless to say, the relationship between writer and world takes on the form of a projection This projection constitutes a degree of fiction imposed upon the “real” world of the novel ; the Daphne, a ship Roberto finds himself stranded upon This essay will explore the projection of a fictional world where the romance allows the possible to intrude upon the daily life of the main character, Roberto della Griva I also wish to suggest that the projection of a world is not just carried out by Roberto in the novel, but by the chronicler, 2 and Eco as well That is, Eco writes himself into the narrative just as Roberto places himself in the role of hero In each case we have the multiple mirroring of author and hero The plot of The Island of the Day Before takes as its point of departure the notion of the castaway However, true to Eco’s style and thinking, this castaway finds himself in the most extraordinary predicament: he is strand ed upon a deserted ship which lies at anchor in a bay that is within sight of an island I would ask that you attempt to visualize this particular scene: We have a castaway stranded upon a 16 th century vessel that lies marooned within sight of a beautiful island somewhere in the south pacific The two images I would like you to focus on are that of the ship, the Daphne, and the island Roberto’s predicament is further complicated by the fact that he is unable to swim Therefore, he finds himself stranded upon the ship with little hope of reaching an island that is within sight While this basic plot is interesting in itself, Eco goes one step further and places the island on the other side of the international date line, which, quite literally, places t he island in the day before Therefore, Roberto is both spatially and temporally stranded in a symbolic purgatory

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