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Umberto Eco was an expert on the Middle Ages, a journalist, a leading semiotician, a university professor, a philosopher, a literary critic, a polymath, an author.He was born in Alessandria, Italy on the 5th of January 1932 and died in Milan on the 19th of February 2016.There is of course always room for change but less so in a closed form.
He opened my awareness on many issues and he gave me ample moments of good reading time and research over the years.
“One of the most profoundly exciting moments of my life,” Gertrude Stein recalled in a lecture at Columbia University in the mid-1930s, “was when at about 16 I suddenly concluded that I would not make all knowledge my province.” It is one of her more readily intelligible sentences, but I have never been able to imagine the sentiment it expresses. To me it sounds profoundly depressing, but then we’re all wired differently.
Dispeller of ignorance it is and Umberto Eco is one for me.
After reading every single one of his books or watching interviews online I was in awe with his unique ability to narrate, his depth of knowledge on just about every subject, his humour and his sense of humanity.
We could even argue that ambiguity in art has a negative outcome in that the real problems aren’t addressed properly and head on (John Raulston Saul makes a good point for this in Voltaire’s Bastards)Sometime later, I read two books by Eco with various articles covering a lot of different subjects from communication to politics.
They were a lot easier to understand and I suddenly realised what Berlusconi was up to in Italy.
I refused to read Numero Zero until about two months ago.
This is the shortest novel he wrote and a very direct one too, involving another ‘conspiracy theory’ about the death of Mussolini (Eco grew up under the fascist regime in Italy) Umberto Eco is one of my most favourite writers and someone I will always go back to for inspiration.
Later, after I had read most of his novels and his essays I went back to The Open Work several times.
I still find a lot of it difficult to follow but there are some concept that resonate with me, now more than ever.