Travels in Hyper Reality

by Umberto Eco. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $15.95. Mr. Eco’s essays, which were written over a number of years for Italian newspapers, concern subjects as diverse as terrorism, the continuing influence of the Middle Ages, the charm of Casablanca, and the psychological effects of wearing blue jeans. Mr. Eco combines scholarship with a love of paradox and a quirky, sometimes outrageous, sense of humor. The nonsemiotician reader may occasionally be driven to the dictionary, but that exercise is a trifling price to pay for the pleasure and stimulation provided by Mr. Eco‘s arguments.