On The History of Ugliness

author: Umberto Eco
recorded by: Faculty of Arts
published: Dec. 14, 2007,   recorded: December 2007,   views: 137498


Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


In “History of Beauty,” Umberto Eco explored the ways in which notions of attractiveness shift from culture to culture and era to era. With ON UGLINESS, a collection of images and written excerpts from ancient times to the present, he asks: Is repulsiveness, too, in the eye of the beholder? And what do we learn about that beholder when we delve into his aversions? Selecting stark visual images of gore, deformity, moral turpitude and malice, and quotations from sources ranging from Plato to radical feminists, Eco unfurls a taxonomy of ugliness. As gross-out contests go, it’s both absorbing and highbrow.

See Also:

Download slides icon Download slides: cd07_eco_thu_01.pdf (18.5 MB)

Help icon Streaming Video Help

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Marie, January 18, 2008 at 4:52 p.m.:

Interesting. But would've been nice to also see the slides to which Mr. Eco refers.

Comment2 L, March 26, 2008 at 10:44 p.m.:

I agree. It would really be nice to also see the slides!

Comment3 aleksandar, May 2, 2008 at 11:45 a.m.:

Competent profesor shows us the beautyful side of the uglliness.Very intersesting and educative in the same time.But it would be nice to also see the slides that prof.Eco presents.

Comment4 Paul, November 17, 2008 at 11:16 p.m.:

The slides can be downloaded on the right side under "SEE ALSO"

Comment5 khalid, December 23, 2008 at 6:06 p.m.:

I agree too .putting the slides is a nice idea

Comment6 rama, January 12, 2009 at 8:08 a.m.:

unable to view the videos. says 'stream not found"

Comment7 Mireille, February 10, 2010 at 6:57 p.m.:

The professor's passion for the subject is evident in his delivery. I totally enjoyed it.

Comment8 Poul Dines, May 19, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.:

Can you download his speech as podcast?

Comment9 ceci_jing, August 10, 2010 at 11:36 a.m.:

If the subtitle could be added in the vedio, it's perfect

Comment10 Tymoteusz , October 2, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.:

His lecture is perfect! I want see and hear more. Do anybody know where in the Internet I can see or hear some more lecture of the prof.?

Comment11 William Robert Da Silva, February 24, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.:

I have read and studied his books as much on ugliness as on beauty. I have used them in my lectures on the symbolic and diabolic of aesthetics in human culture. It is an excellent experience seeing him explain his own interpretation with the slides displayed. I regret I could not download it with his speech.

Comment12 Pamrita, October 25, 2012 at 2:10 a.m.:

I am a fan of Umberto Eco, all of his books are incredible, however, this lecture is one of the best lectures I have ever watched. Eco articulates himself brilliantly here and I would love to see more of these lectures.

Comment13 25penny.com, May 16, 2023 at 9:49 a.m.:

During your visit to our website, we may collect more information without directly identifying you. The website does collect personal information such as your name, identify, gender, and geographic region. https://25penny.com/ During your visit to our website, we may collect more information without directly identifyirmation such as your name, identify, gender, and geographic region.

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: