Umberto Eco, on the postmodern attitude

“I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a cultivated woman and knows he cannot say to her, ‘I love you madly’, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows that he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say, ‘As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly.’ At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly that it is no longer possible to speak innocently, he will nevertheless have said what he wants to say to the woman: that he loves her, but he loves her in an age of lost innocence.”

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose, 532.

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