Mullan later quoted one of his favourite lines from Numero Zero – “the pleasures of erudition are reserved for losers” – before going on to ask Eco why he chose to tell the story from the point of view of a thwarted character.
“Because that’s literature,” said Eco. “Dostoevsky was writing about losers. The main character of The Iliad, Hector, is a loser. It’s very boring to talk about winners. The real literature always talks about losers. Madame Bovary is a loser. Julien Sorel is a loser. I am doing only the same job. Losers are more fascinating.