A late tribute to Umberto Eco (and also to Harper Lee)…

by Gökhan Tan
by Gökhan Tan

Archival Interview: Umberto Eco on Truth, Fiction, and the Holy Grail

“It was a beautiful story. Too bad no one will find out about it.”

“You surely don’t believe that you’re the only writer of stories in this world. Sooner or later, someone — a greater liar than Baudolino — will tell it.” — Umberto Eco, Baudolino

null“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.” Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco is dead: Long live Umberto Eco

Jealous novelists criticised his novels, but readers around the globe devoured his dazzling brilliance.


Wonderful, sometimes exasperating, writer. I loved his newspaper columns and will always be grateful to him for How To Travel With A Salmon: and Other Essays. And for his wonderful 1994 essay on why the Mac is a Catholic machine, and the IBM PC a Protestant one. The NYT obit here

1984 photograph by Rob Bogaerts

eco loves peanuts

Image via Wikimedia Commons and Snoopy’s YouTube Channel

Anthropology, authenticity, medieval aesthetics, the media, literary theory, conspiracy theory, semiotics, ugliness: the late Umberto Eco, as anyone who’s read a piece of his bibliography (which includes such intellectually serious but thoroughly entertaining novels as The Name of the RoseFoucault’s Pendulum, and the still-new Numero Zero) can attest, had the widest possible range of interests. That infinite-seeming list extended even to comic strips, and especially Charles Schulz’s Peanuts (which did tend to fascinate literati, even those of very different traditions).

Bestselling novelist Umberto Eco has died at the age of 84 at his home in Italy. A renowned scholar, he is best known for his novel The Name of the Rose.

Italian writer Umberto Eco dies at 84

The Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco, best known for his 1980s novel The Name of the Rose, dies at the age of 84.


The novelist and cultural theorist Umberto Eco has died at his home, according to a statement his family gave to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. He was 84.

Who marries who, by profession

Marriage and jobs

People with certain professions tend to marry others with a given profession.Adam Pearce and Dorothy Gambrell for Bloomberg Business were curious.

When it comes to falling in love, it’s not just fate that brings people together—sometimes it’s their jobs. We scanned data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey—which covers 3.5 million households—to find out how people are pairing up.

Umberto Eco, the Italian semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist — and, of course, author of Foucault’s Pendulum – has died at his home in Milan. He was 84.

Eco’s passing adds some poignancy to a video he recorded just last year, on behalf of The Louisiana Channel, a media outlet based, of all places, in Denmark. In the clip above, Eco gives some counsel to aspiring writers: Keep your ego in check, and your ambitions, realistic. Put in the time and the hard work, and don’t shoot for the Nobel Prize in Literature straight out of the gate. That, Eco says, kills every literary career. And remember that writing is “10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” They’re truisms–you discover after spending decades as a writer–that turn out to be true. That confirmation is one of the gifts he leaves behind.

Umberto Eco, 1932-2016


Umberto Eco, the Italian philosopher, writer and semiotics professor, is dead at 84, reports the BBC.

Turkish writers mourn Umberto Eco, Italy’s world-known author and philosopher, who died Feb. 19 at the age of 84.

Punctuation in Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (left) and in Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (right).

Adam J Calhoun wrote on Medium: “I wondered what did my favorite books look like without words. Can you tell them apart or are they all a-mush? In fact, they can be quite distinct. Take my all-time favorite book, Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. It is dense prose stuffed with parentheticals. When placed next to a novel with more simplified prose — Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy — it is a stark difference (see above).”

Harper Lee, who wrote one of America’s most enduring literary classics, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about a child’s view of right and wrong and waited 55 years to publish a second book with the same characters from a very different point of view, has died at the age of 89

Everyone Still Reads ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

On Friday, the mayor’s office in Monroeville, Alabama, announced that Harper Lee, author of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” and its controversy-plagued 2015 sequel “Go Set A Watchman,” had died at age 89. A look at the numbers behind Lee’s greatest work bear out its prominent place in American culture.

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it.

That’s how Scout Finch describes the steadfastly Southern setting of Harper Lee’s beloved novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Maycomb is a fictional city, but it’sbased on Lee’s birthplace and childhood home of Monroeville, in Monroe County, Alabama, where Lee died on Friday.

Monroe County was the perfect model for the setting of the Depression-era novel. According to 1930 census data, farmers like the novel’s Cunningham family made up 74 percent of the county.18 Monroe was about half black, half white, but whites were better off by a variety of a measures. While Scout’s father Atticus read to her every night, 25.8 percent of the black population was illiterate. Only 3 percent of the white population couldn’t read.

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