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Umberto Eco

Discussion in 'Reader's Corner' started by martryn, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. martryn

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    Any Eco fans in the audience tonight? He is my favorite author and I am in the process of finishing off his latest novel (he puts one out about every five years, and this one is the fourth). The four awesome Eco novels are:
    The Name of the Rose
    The Island of the Day Before
    Foucault's Pendulum
    Baudolino

    The Name of the Rose is a great book best known for the movie adaptation starring Sean Connery and a young Christian Slater that came out in like '87. It is a murder mystery, but this one takes place in like the 11th century and all the action is at a monastery and the detective is a monk. One cool part of the book is like the 20 something page chapter on whether Christ owned his clothes.

    The Island of the Day Before is about a guy who gets shipwrecked. He's floating out in the middle of the ocean on a door or something and he bumps up against another ship anchored in a bay. He climbs aboard to find the ship completely empty with no boats or anything that floats that can be removed and put into the water on board. So now he is shipwrecked and finds himself on a deserted ship with land only half a mile away... but he can't swim!

    Foucault's Pendulum is my favorite book of all time and is about three publishers who work for this small publishing company that specializes in books that the authors pay to have published at their expense. The three look over so many crazy manuscripts and meet so many weird characters that they decide to have fun with a computer they have that can create connections between two unrelated things or events. They start feeding all this stuff about the occult into the computer and start to make a game out of it, even publishing their own theories for fun. But some people start to believe the theories, and things get out of control.

    Baudolino is the book I'm reading now. It takes place in... the 1200's (?) and is the life story of a man named Baudolino, who has two gifts, the ability to learn new languages almost instantly and a great ability to lie boldfaced to people. As a boy he is adopted by the Emporer Barbarossa while Barbarossa was conquering (or reconquering, as the case may be) Italy. His adventures as the adopted son of the emporer lead him on a quest to find the sacred kingdom of Prestor John, a priest-king of some power that no one really knows exists.

    Eco is a literary genius. His books are not for the slow-witted, as he doesn't hold back on anything. He is a professor of sembiatics at Milan and slips into different languages, many of which are now dead, with a profound grace. He hits many topics of religion and politics, and is the ultimate conspiracy theory writer, if you take into account that the conspiracies he comes up with far outshadow anything in The da Vinci Code. In fact, if you loved the da Vinci Code, then you have to try his books.

    So, has anyone here read Eco, and if so, what did you think?
     
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  2. jkingler

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    ^When you say sembiatics do you mean semiotics? Not to nitpick or be an ass, I really wanna know :).

    I have never read Eco, but I may have to pick up Foucault's Pendulum based on your interesting description and obvious enthusiasm...or at least put it on my wishlist so I know to get it later :p.
     
  3. martryn

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    Aww crap! You're right. He's a professor of word origins. I didn't bother to look it up, I just typed how it sounded. Ha ha ha.

    And if you pick up Foucault's Pendulum, don't be discouraged by the first couple of chapters. Here's the first of chapter three to sorta convince you (and to see if you like the style if writing. It doesn't really give anything away...

    The phone woke me. It was Belbo; his voice different, remote.
    "Where the hell are you? Lost in the jungle?"
    "Don't joke, Casaubon. This is serious. I'm in Paris."
    "Paris? But I was the one who was supposed to go to the Conservatoire."
    "Stop joking, damn it. I'm in a booth -- in a bar. I may not be able to talk much longer..."
    "If you're running out of change, call collect. I'll wait here."
    "Change isn't the problem. I'm in trouble." He was talking really fast, not giving me time to interrupt. "The plan. The plan is real. I know, don't say it. They're after me."
    "Who?" I still couldn't understand.
    "The Templars, Casaubon, for God's sake. You won't want to believe this, I know, but it's all true. They think I have the map, they tricked me, made me come to Paris. At midnight Saturday they want me at the Conservatoire. Saturday --you understand --Saint John's Eve..."

    That was chapter three, mind you, and most of the book takes place in a flashback to tell how things got to where they did. You might also want to rent the movie The Name of the Rose to see if you like Eco's style of storytelling and twists. It's one of the greatest Sean Connery movies ever made (I can't think of a better one).

    And your sig is hella addicting to watch, but I think its gonna make me seizure.
     
  4. Amnesia

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    Actually, this (Name of a Rose) is currently sitting on my shelf. My grandfather recommended it quite highly (and he reads like nothing else.) I'm probably going to end up reading it over a break at some point. But from what I've heard, should be excellent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  5. Dream Brother

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    I saw The Name of the Rose in a store, and I was tempted to pick it up...looked interesting.

    That book was in the newspaper today, actually -- part of this 'top 100 reads' list.
     
  6. sel

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    About two-thirds of the way through Name of the Rose, and highly enjoying it.

    Something interesting I'll note about this book.
    Spoiler:

    -A heretical brotherhood.
    -Clerical officials being systematically killed in a way that fulfills some sort of 'prophecy.'
    -The mystery being solved by a detective figure who disagrees with the religion of the Holy Place he's in.

    Angels and Demons much? Many other things have reminded me of that book likewise. Think of your own plot Dan!
     
  7. Lord Yu

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    I've been seeking challenging literature and Eco's name had come up. Hell, I've been curious since I saw this thread. I haven't come across his work yet but I'll eventually get around to reading it.
     
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