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Umberto Eco has written works of fiction, literary criticism and philosophy. His first novel, The Name of the Rose, was a major international bestseller. His other works include Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before, Baudolino, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana and The Prague Cemetery, along with many brilliant collections of essays. He died in February 2016.
1945, Lake Como. Mussolini and his mistress are captured and shot by local partisans. The precise circumstances of Il Duce's death remain shrouded in controversy. 1992, Milan. Colonna, a depressed hack writer, is offered a fee he can't refuse to ghost-write a memoir. His subject: a fledgling newspaper financed by a powerful media magnate. As Colonna gets to know the team, he learns the paranoid theories of Braggadocio, who is convinced that Mussolini's corpse was a body-double and part of a wider Fascist plot. It's the scoop he desperately needs. The evidence? He's working on it. Colonna is sceptical. But when a body is found, stabbed to death in a back alley, and the paper is shut down, even he is jolted out of his complacency.
The Prague Cemetery is Umberto Eco at his most exciting, a novel immediately hailed as his masterpiece. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to notorious forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay one lone man? And what if that evil genius created the most infamous document of all? Eco takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events.
The international bestseller! A masterful gothic thriller set against the turbulence of medieval Italy.The Name of the RoseThe year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. But his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths that take place in seven days and nights of apocalyptic terror.Brother William turns detective, and a uniquely deft one at that. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon--all sharpened to a glistening edge by his wry humor and ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where "e;the most interesting things happen at night."e;As Brother William goes about unraveling the mystery of what happens at the abbey by day and by night, listeners step into a brilliant re-creation of the fourteenth century, with its dark superstitions and wild prejudices, its hidden passions and sordid intrigues. Virtuoso storyteller Umberto Eco conjures up a gloriously rich portrait of this world with such grace, ease, wit and love that you will become utterly intoxicated with the place and time, in The Name of the Rose.
This hugely engaging story of murder, superstition, religious politics and drama in a medieval monastery was one of the most striking novels to appear in the 1980s. The Name of the Rose is a thrilling story enriched with period detail and laced with tongue-in-cheek allusions to fictional characters, the most striking of which is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, who displays many characteristics of Sherlock Holmes. Although he looks at the past through a postmodern lens, Eco catapults his readers into the dark medieval world as Brother William tries to discover why people are dying inexplicably and nastily in the monastery. There is something not altogether right within the library that is the pride of the establishment...The old man Adso, who was an impressionable novice at the time, tells the story.
The final collection of essays from the internationally acclaimed and bestselling author of The Name of the Rose and The Prague Cemetery, on the subjects of art and culture. In this collection of essays we find Umberto Eco's perennial areas of interest explored in a lively and engaging style, accompanied by beautiful reproductions of the art he discusses. In these wide-ranging pieces he explores the roots of our civilization, changing ideas of beauty, our obsession with conspiracies and the emblematic heroes of the great narrative, amongst other fascinating topics. Umberto Eco was one of the most influential, and entertaining, intellectuals of the last century, as well as being a critically acclaimed and bestselling writer of both fiction and non-fiction.
Nineteenth-century Europe abounds with conspiracy both ghastly and mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian priests are strangled with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate black masses by night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, lay just one man?
Nineteenth-century Europe abounds with conspiracy both ghastly and mysterious. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian priests are strangled with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate black masses by night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies, lies just one man?
This volume contains the contributions to the workshop The Semiotics of Cellular Communication in The Immune System which took place at 11 Ciocco in the hills north of Lucca, Italy, September ~-12, 1986. The workshop was the first meeting of what we hope will be a broad consideration of communication among lymphocytes, and focused on the new interdisciplinary branch of biological sciences, immunosemiotics. It is in the realm of the possible, if not the probable, that in the future a number of scientists larger than the thirty present at 11 Ciocco will find immunosemiotics to fill a need in scientific thinking and a gap between biology and the humanities. This might lead to growth and flourishing of the branch, and in this case the first conference and this first book could be blessed by the impalpable qual ity of becoming historical , if in an admittedly 1 imited sense. Just in case this should happen the organizers/editors think it wise to set the record straight at this particular time, about the sequen~e of events and circumstances that crystallized the archeology of the 11 Liocco gathering. They feel a sort of obligation to this endeavor: it has happened all too often that innocent historians have been left in utter confusion by the careless founders of new religions, schisms, revolutions, et cetera, who simply forget to jot down the facts before the whirlwind of time engulfs them in its fog.
Umberto Eco published his first novel, The Name of the Rose, in 1980, when he was nearly fifty. In these confessions, the author, now in his late seventies, looks back on his long career as a theorist and his more recent work as a novelist, and explores their fruitful conjunction. He begins by exploring the boundary between fiction and nonfiction--playfully, seriously, brilliantly roaming across this frontier. Good nonfiction, he believes, is crafted like a whodunnit, and a skilled novelist builds precisely detailed worlds through observation and research. Taking us on a tour of his own creative method, Eco recalls how he designed his fictional realms. He began with specific images, made choices of period, location, and voice, composed stories that would appeal to both sophisticated and popular readers. The blending of the real and the fictive extends to the inhabitants of such invented worlds. Why are we moved to tears by a character's plight? In what sense do Anna Karenina, Gregor Samsa, and Leopold Bloom exist ? At once a medievalist, philosopher, and scholar of modern literature, Eco astonishes above all when he considers the pleasures of enumeration. He shows that the humble list, the potentially endless series, enables us to glimpse the infinite and approach the ineffable. This young novelist is a master who has wise things to impart about the art of fiction and the power of words.
The original essays gathered in this book make a beginning at exploring the cultural significance of The Name of the Rose in terms of its backgrounds and literary contexts. Eco's novel is examined in the light of several of the traditions from which it draws: theories of detective fiction, comedy, postmodernism, the apocalypse, semiotics, and literary criticism. The authors from a variety of language disciplines frequently draw on Eco's own scholarly commentaries to elucidate the novel. The Name of the Rose was published in English in the United States in 1983 and remained on the best-seller list for forty weeks. Paperback publication rights brought the highest price ever paid for a translation, and in 1986 it became a major motion picture. Written by a distinguished professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, the novel was an immediate bestseller in Italy in 1980 and was subsequently translated into twenty languages to universal acclaim.The question all this raises is, how can such a novel be so popular--a detective set in a medieval monastery, which entertains at the same time as it deals with theology, history, politics, humanism, comedy, literary criticism, and just about everything else that makes up culture and society? Is it possible that a popular piece of fiction, accessible to general readers, can also address complex and profound ideas? This volume of essays on the celebrated novel is the first of several books to be written in appreciation of Eco's remarkable accomplishment. It has the distinction also of including a foreword written by Eco himself in response to the essays, certainly one of the few times when the author has agreed to critique his critics. In addition, this collection contains a bibliography of Eco criticism.Just as The Name of the Rose has something for everyone, so too does this book of critical essays. Scholar, teacher, student, and general reader alike will benefit from the light it casts on a contemporary literary phenomenon.
Set in Italy in the Middle Ages, this is not only a narrative of a murder investigation in a monastery in 1327, but also a chronicle of the 14th century religious wars, a history of monastic orders, and a compendium of heretical movements.
In this book Umberto Eco argues that translation is not about comparing two languages, but about the interpretation of a text in two different languages, thus involving a shift between cultures. An author whose works have appeared in many languages, Eco is also the translator of G rard de Nerval's Sylvie and Raymond Queneau's Exercices de style from French into Italian. In Experiences in Translation he draws on his substantial practical experience to identify and discuss some central problems of translation. As he convincingly demonstrates, a translation can express an evident deep sense of a text even when violating both lexical and referential faithfulness. Depicting translation as a semiotic task, he uses a wide range of source materials as illustration: the translations of his own and other novels, translations of the dialogue of American films into Italian, and various versions of the Bible. In the second part of his study he deals with translation theories proposed by Jakobson, Steiner, Peirce, and others. Overall, Eco identifies the different types of interpretive acts that count as translation. An enticing new typology emerges, based on his insistence on a common-sense approach and the necessity of taking a critical stance.
After the Cold War, the 'Hot War' has made its comeback in Afghanistan and Iraq. Exhuming Kipling's 'Great Game', we have gone back to the clash between Islam and Christianity. The ghost of the Yellow Peril has been resurrected, the nineteenth-century anti-Darwin debate has been reopened, right-wing governments predominate. It almost seems like history, tired of the big steps forward it has taken in the past two millennia, has gone into reverse. With his customary sharpness and wit, Eco proposes, not so much that we resume a forward march, but at the very least that we cease marching backwards.
This book is the follow up to the previous volume On Beauty. Apparently beauty and ugliness are concepts that imply each other, and by ugliness we usually mean the opposite of beauty, so all we need do is define the first to understand the nature of the second. But the various manifestations of ugliness over the centuries are richer and more unpredictable than is commonly thought. The anthological quotations and the extraordinary illustrations in this book lead us on a surprising journey among the nightmares, terrors, and loves of almost three thousand years, where acts of rejection go hand in hand with touching gestures of compassion, and the rejection of deformity is accompanied by decadent ecstasies over the most seductive violations of all classical canons. Among demons, madmen, horrible enemies, and disquieting presences, among horrid abysses and deformities that verge on the sublime, among freaks and the living dead, we discover a vast and often unsuspected iconographic vein. So much so that, on gradually encountering in these pages the ugliness of nature, spiritual ugliness, asymmetry, disharmony, disfigurement, and the succession of things sordid, weak, vile, banal, random, arbitrary, coarse, repugnant, clumsy, horrendous, vacuous, nauseating, criminal, spectral, witchlike, satanic, repellent, disgusting, unpleasant, grotesque, abominable, odious, crude, foul, dirty, obscene, frightening, abject, monstrous, hair-raising, ugly, terrible, terrifying, revolting, repulsive, loathsome, fetid, ignoble, awkward, ghastly and indecent, the first foreign publisher to see this book exclaimed: 'How beautiful ugliness is!'
Who is killing monks in a great medieval abbey famed for its library - and why? Brother William of Baskerville is sent to find out, taking with him the assistant who later tells the tale of his investigations. Eco's celebrated story combines elements of detective fiction, metaphysical thriller, post-modernist puzzle and historical novel in one of the few twentieth-century books which can be described as genuinely unique. The Name of the Rose was made into a film in 1986, starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
In this fascinating, abundant new novel from the incomparable Eco, Yambo, a rare-book dealer, has suffered a bizarre form of memory loss. He can remember every book he ever read but nothing about his own life. In an effort to retrieve his past, he withdraws into his old family home and searches through boxes of old newspapers, comics, records, photo albums and diaries kept in the attic. And so Yambo relives his youth: Mussolini, Catholic education, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Fred Astaire. His memories run wild, and life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the flames to capture one simple, innocent image, that of his first love.
In this stimulating dialogue, often adversarial but always amicable, these two great men, who stand on opposite sides of the church door, discuss some of the most controversial issues of the day. One is the prince of the Church, a respected scholar and one of the pre-eminent ecumenical churchmen of Europe; the other the world famous author of The Name of the Rose , a scholar, philosopher and self-declared secularist, a man who writes with equal ease about Thomas Aquinas and James Joyce, about computers and the medieval Templars.
Remarkably accessible and unfailingly stimulating, this collection of essays exhibits the diversity of interests and the depth of knowledge that made Umberto Eco one of the world's leading writers. From musings on Ptolemy and reflections on the experimental writing of Borges and Joyce, to revelations of his own authorial ambitions and fears, Eco's luminous intelligence is on display throughout. This volume will appeal to anyone interested in how new light is shed on old masters by a great contemporary mind.