In memory of Umberto Eco

February 22, 2016

umberto-ecoLast Friday, the famous Italian novelist Umberto Eco passed away. He was 84 years and died in his home in Milan. During his life, Umberto Eco has also worked as a philosopher, a semiotics teacher at the university and an author. His abrupt missing shocked his fond readers and all the literature and culture world.

Umberto Eco is famous for his first novels set in the Middle Age and titled The Name of the Rose. This book has been translated all over the world and gave also birth to a famous movie with Sean Connery in the role of the investigator priest called William of Baskerville.

But, before to better discover the works of Umberto Eco, I would like to tell about his biography. This Italian novelist was born in the city of Alessandria (Northern Piedmont) in 1932. His father wanted he became a lawyer, but Umberto preferred to get a degree in medieval philosophy at the University of Turin. In the early stages of his education, Umberto studied at a Salesian school. This education, along with the philosophical knowledge, has probably influenced his high capacity to create the compelling plot of The Name of the Rose. His degree thesis was indeed on Thomas Aquinas.

But Umberto Eco also deserves to be recalled and rewarded for his deep researches and studies about semiotics, namely the science, or rather, the art, to explain the meaning of words and communication. It was just Umberto Eco who founded the concept of “the open work”. That is a way to let readers understand what they are reading according to the meaning they sense from the same words. In addition to novels, Umberto Eco wrote children’s books and essays and this proves he was an eclectic and very creative Italian author. A famous Eco’s essay is titled Phenomenology of Mike Bongiorno. Released in 1961, this essay was dedicated to the famous quiz show hosted in Italy.

We must not even forget Umberto Eco was also hired at the Rai (The Italian Public Television) in 1956 as a cultural editor. Religion and conspiracy are, instead, the preferred topics of his famous novels. The strong skill to delve in the obscure crannies of the history and the human soul led this novelist to write real masterpieces of the global literature. Umberto Eco, indeed, can also be defined a great thinker of the New Millennium and the last century.

He was also invited to teach at the most important Italian, British and American universities. On this side, he can also be considered as a forerunner of the economic changes which shaken the global economy. This remarkable contribution is proved by important anthropology seminars he held at the University of Bologna in 1988 and in Mali in 2000. The main topics of these seminars were Human rights, Order and disorder, China and Europe relationships, New concepts of war and peace and Social justice and harmony.

In this framework, Umberto Eco was the first thinker to blame the rise of the Internet and Social Networks for creating the reign of the nothing and the morons. Very famous is the quote according to which social networks gave idiots the permission to talk! Following this concept, Eco claimed the value of the paper books he believed the sacred chests of the true culture and literature, a natural way to convey sane ethical values and true knowledge.

Eco’s writing mirrors this deep capacity to explore the world along with the words. Here is because his novels have been very appreciated all over the world. Here, I can’t help to remember the first success The Name of the Rose, set in the Middle Age. This is a mystery novel where an investigator monk tries to solve the dilemma of the strange murders happened in a convent.

Another famous novel is  Foucault’s Pendulum, where the main characters decide to amuse themselves by inventing a conspiracy theory. The Island of the Day Before
is the third novel by Umberto Eco and tells about a man marooned on a ship who, unable to swim, spent his time to reminisce his life and the vicissitudes to lead him to be marooned. Baudolino is a novel published in 2000 and tells about the crusades. The latest books by Umberto Eco are The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
a (2005), The Prague Cemetery (2010) and the Number Zero (2015).

To discover the plot of these further bestsellers, I suggest you read these books and buy them by clicking the titles above.


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