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Monday, February 22, 2016

Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco died.


I received the news from Al-Jazeera, my main news source these days, and I was filled with sadness.

I read The Name of the Rose many years ago and saw the movie (the book was better).  But then I went on to read  some of his other works: Foucault's Pendulum and his essays. Oh, he was a superb essayist.   I devoured Travels in Hyperreality and Kant and the Platypus.  Over the years, if I saw one of his works on the shelf of whatever bookstore I happened to be in, I always bought the book because I knew it would be a great read.  Eco never disappointed.

A few days ago in one of my classes I asked the class TA (an Italian) if she knew anything about Eco's How to Write a Thesis.  She hadn't heard of it and she wondered if the advice would be applicable to writing a thesis at a British University.  Something tells me that even if it doesn't directly apply, I would benefit from reading it.  Because Eco was not only brilliant but he could write about anything and make it fun and lively while slipping in life lessons like the importance of humility, persistence and hard work..  His advice to aspiring writers was to not take themselves too seriously.

And I plan to ask him more about that when I see him in heaven.  And, yes, I am absolutely positively sure he'll be there.  He was a "gift from the heavens" and now God has taken him back.

Requiescat in pace. Amen

And here is part of an interview he gave last year (h/t to Open Culture ).


Maria said...

I loved The Name of the Rose. I later tried to read Foucault's Pendulum but I couldn't get into it. I think I was too young then; also I was more into medieval history then. I probably would like it now, and just might try to find it. My daughter had to read him for one of her philosophy classes on semiotics and was driven up the wall. She hated it, though she is willing to try his fiction.

Inaka Nezumi said...

I loved Foucault's Pendulum, seemed like Thomas Pynchon with knobs on. (I had also liked Gravity's Rainbow.) Also read The Name of the Rose, but never anything else by him. Should rectify that some day.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Maria, Wasn't that a great book and a great movie? One of my favorites. Try his essays - they are always good and a bit easier to get into.

Nezumi-san, I'm going to get his How to Write a Thesis. Looks like a great read.