Umberto Eco was born in 1932 in Alessandria in Northern Italy. He is the first of the writers I’ve looked into who is actually still alive! Lol. Urged by his father to become a Lawyer, Umberto instead chose to go to University to study medieval philosophy and literature and subsequently became a University Professor. Now, he divides his time between studying semiotics, writing essays, philosophy, literary criticism and writing fiction.
He has written books for children, dozens of non fiction books and 6 novels. But his most famous work was his first fictional novel “In The Name Of The Rose” which was published when he was 48 years old. A historical murder mystery set in a monastery it encapsulates everything that Eco had studied and taught about in the previous years and has sold approximately 50 million copies.
The intricate plots of his fiction are full of references to literature and history. He sites Jorge Luis Borges and James Joyce as his influences. He currently lives in Italy, dividing his time between two homes. In one he has a library of 30,000 books and in the other, 20,000 (and I thought I was bad!!!!).
My Favourite Eco Quotes:
“The real hero is always the hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
“It is a myth of publishers that people want to read easy things.”
“Every time I write a novel I am convinced for at least 2 years that it is the last one, because a novel is like a child. It takes 2 years after its birth. You have to take care of it. It starts walking and then speaking.”
“I love the smell of book ink in the morning.”
“Thus I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have told us again and again): books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.”
Check out Umberto Eco’s Rules Of Writing and this rather wonderful interview about his most recent novel.
Ive never read any of Eco’s work (although The Hubster has) and I don’t tend to read books that have an intricate plot structure. So does that mean I choose books that are easy to read? I probably do you know *blush*
What do you think? Do readers want to read easy things? Do you?