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The Name of the Rose: including the Author's Postscript

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. An international sensation and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix M dicis tranger awards The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Millennial Angst

This is not a proper review, more a couple of comments about things which the first few reviewers missed (I didn't read all 157 reviews). One of Umberto Eco's perennial themes, expressed elsewhere in essays, is what he sees as the the similarity between the society of the "dark ages" and that of today. For instance he draws explicit parallels between the heretics and utopian communities of the past and contemporary cults such as Jim Jones, the SLA, the Red Brigades and so forth. This book needs to be read in the light of that; it's not just a historical novel about monks. There are also obvious references to the work of Borges in this novel, as well as to Sherlock Holmes (William of Baskerville?). And of course the theme of rationalism versus superstition (not to mention religious war) has been brought into considerably sharper focus by world events since the book was written.Overall, I can't see why people regard this as a hard book to read. Although there is a lot of historical background, (accurate rather than as some have suggested pseudo-philosophical or invented) it's presented in a vivid and entertaining way, the story keeps you turning the pages, and it's surely the only serious novel to include a recipe for fried cheese.

Too Smart to Be A Novel

Remember when your parents and teachers would try to get you to read? The favored line is that reading "can take you anywhere in the world". Well, that sounds nice, but it never really rang true, especially as books offer only a short term separation from the problems of real life. Well, Umberto Eco's epic novel The Name of the Rose might be one of those few novels that really approaches the suggested transportation powers books can possess. It is such a "thick" novel. Intellectually, it is staggering in its complexity and fluidity. The reader can simply marvel at the range of ideas and logical conversation that Eco includes in this novel. As other reviewers have pointed out, you really do feel smarter upon finishing it. That is the first theme of the book that strikes you, but many more are out there for you to explore.The actual story of The Name of the Rose (sometimes the story gets lost in the novel) is a classic murder mystery, set in a 14th century Italian abbey. Because of recent political and religious strife in the surrounding areas, the competing powers of the Holy Roman Emperor and the Papal authorities both see importance in this area. Rumors of heresy within the walls abound, a mark the Franciscan friars try their best to avoid. Our main character is the former inquisitor William of Baskerville, an extremely intelligent and learned official, under the employment of the Emperor. With him is his faithful assistant Adso, who is our narrator. Their assignment is to make sense of the conflicting stories people tell about what is in the monastery. Just as they start their investigation, monks start getting killed, in brutal but symbolic ways. William and Adso are forced to use all their powers of logic and deduction to begin to piece together the clues.The clues point to a dark secret inside the heralded library of the abbey. There, monks toil day after day, reproducing the classics and more modern works. This is where civilization was being saved at the time, in small monasteries which kept alive science and ancient literature. However, somethings that are hidden away in the library are not meant to be seen, and a strangely rigid library control apparatus shields certain works from William. As the murders and the obstinacy of the librarians continue, William becomes more suspicious of the abbey's leadership at large. A conspiracy begins to emerge, one dedicated to the many scriptural and architectural secrets possessed by the Italian abbey. It quickly becomes apparent to William and the reader that what is involved here is much more important than the political issues of the day.The pure historical swath of The Name of the Rose is hard to even summarize, as it is just immeasurably grand. The reader learns of the medieval church and of a Europe torn apart by theological argument. Messiahs and prophets tour the land, with inquisitors and church officials constantly at work stamping them out. Battle between the secula

Italians sometimes deserve more attention

I am amazed that this novel - the most popular, the best-loved, the most imitated in Italy during the latest 20 years- is so little known abroad. It is a very good historical novel, full of intense and fascinating characters, which can reliably belong to European Middle Age. Eco' s culture is immense: he can easily quote from Latin, ancient French or other languages. But the big mystery in this book is an ancient Greek manuscript, the book _On Comedy_ fom Aristotle's _Poetics_. It is very hard to believe that such a manuscript really existed, and, as a matter of fact, at the end of the novel it gets destroyed. A terrible loss for the main character, Guglielmo di Baskerville, but a dreadful victory for superstition and ignorance. Tje plot is very intriguing (it is a detective story). Some friars are murdered, and nobody can understand the reason...nobody excepting Guglielmo. Who is nothing but Sherlock Holmes, while his young assistant, Adso, is nothing but Watson...But the reference to Conan Doyle is not the real purpose of this splendid book, where you find such an enchanting gothic atmosphere as very rarely you can do. The real matter is the rescue of European culture, which nowadays seems to be overwhelmed by the so called 'globalization'. I suggest this reading to everyone, American, Asian or African people. The movie is not so bad...Jean-Jacques Annaud understood very well Eco's lesson. But the book is something very, very special.

Great book, poor edition

I loved this book when I first read it 6 years ago so much that it was one of the few things I took with me when I came to US. Reading NR is a many-fold experience, so many reviews are right about it. However I was deeply disappointed with the way Eco is published in English. You see, my Russian edition has about 70 pages of comments ranging from historical to theological ones. Who in this modern world remembers Dolcino or a difference between katars and minorites ?? It is nice when a reader is well versed in both Latin, medieval Deutch and some Italian but at least my Russian translator and editors went to great pains to help me, a reader, along the way. You can see so many comments (read those about "Pendulum", for example) that blame Eco for being a pompous intellectual while it is really the result of modern day education that does not prepare an average reader to deal with such a multi-layered work. Otherwise we would not have people asking about the meaning of last words in novel.Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus.With the past name of rose, names are shed (naked) in future.


The word "name" in Italian is spelled "nome", not "noma". :) btw, I love this book.

Il nome della rosa Mentions in Our Blog

Il nome della rosa in Get Your Ren Faire Fix with These Reads for All Ages
Get Your Ren Faire Fix with These Reads for All Ages
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 10, 2020
With lots of our summer traditions canceled this year, we are relying on literature to take us where we want to go. This week, Renaissance Faire reads for all ages!
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