Who is Umberto Eco?
Umberto Eco is an Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) and his many essays.Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the region of Piedmont. His father, Giulio, was an accountant before the government called upon him to serve in three wars. During World War II, Umberto and his mother, Giovanna, moved to a small village in the Piedmontese mountainside.His family name is supposedly an acronym of ex coelis oblatus (lat: a gift from the heavens), which was given to his grandfather (a foundling) by a city official.His father was the son of a family with thirteen children, and urged him to become a lawyer, but he entered the University of Turin in order to take up medieval philosophy and literature, writing his thesis on Thomas Aquinas and earning his BA of philosophy in 1954. During this time, Eco left the Roman Catholic Church after a crisis of faith.After this, Eco worked as a cultural editor for the state broadcasting station Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) and also lectured at the University of Turin (1956–64). A group of avant-garde artists—painters, musicians, writers—whom he had befriended at RAI became an important and influential component in Eco's future writing career. This was especially true after the publication of his first book in 1956, Il problema estetico di San Tommaso, which was an extension of his doctoral thesis. This also marked the beginning of his lecturing career at his alma mater.In September 1962 he married Renate Ramge, a German art teacher.
- The good of a book lies in its being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things. Without an eye to read them, a book contains signs that produce no concepts; therefore it is dumb.
- There is a constant in the average American imagination and taste, for which the past must be preserved and celebrated in full-scale authentic copy; a philosophy of immortality as duplication. It dominates the relation with the self, with the past, not infrequently with the present, always with History and, even, with the European tradition.
- There is only one thing that arouses animals more than pleasure, and that is pain. Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him.
- Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.
- A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams.
- The postmodern reply to the modern consists of recognizing that the past, since it cannot really be destroyed, because its destruction leads to silence, must be revisited: but with irony, not innocently. I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very 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.
- The ideology of this America wants to establish reassurance through Imitation. But profit defeats ideology, because the consumers want to be thrilled not only by the guarantee of the Good but also by the shudder of the Bad.
- The comic is the perception of the opposite; humor is the feeling of it.
- Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear.
- I would define the poetic effect as the capacity that a text displays for continuing to generate different readings, without ever being completely consumed.
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- Jan 5, 1932
- Also known as
- Umberto Eco OMRI
- University of Turin
- Lived in
on July 23, 2013