Eco, Umberto: The Name of the Rose
(researched by Heshima Toatley)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanavich. Copyright 1983

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

Published in hardback.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

129 leaves and 502 pages. 2-5, <6-7> 8, (9-11), 12-18, <19-21>, 22-64, <65>,66-70, <71>, 72-83, <84>, 85-92, <93>, 94-97, <98-101>, 102-9, <110>, 111-20, <121>, 122-35, <136>,137-141, <142>, 143-55, <156>, 157-59, <160>, 161-78, <179-81>, 182, <183>, 184-6, <187>, 188-95
, <196>, 197-209, <210>, 211-20, <221>, 222-50, <251>, 252-256, <257-9>, 260-5, <266>, 267-76, <277>, 278-86, <287>, 288-99, <300>, 301-02, <303>, 304-6, <307>, 308-9, <310>, 311-25, <326>, 327-32, <333-35>, 336-48, <349>, 350-57, <358>, 359-390, <391>, 3
92-96, <397>, 398-407, <408-11>, 412-18, <419>, 420-25, <426>, 427-35, <436>, 437-8, <439>, 440-43, <444>, 445-52, <453>, 454-55, <456>, 457-60, <461-63>, 464-79, <480>, 481-93, <494-97>, 498-502. <> Denote unnumbered pages.

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

Translated by William Weaver

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

Rita Grasso illustrated the title and part tilte pages. The artwork was designed by Joy Chu.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The book appears to be in good condition. The physical presentation of the text is plainly done. The book is well printed and the typography is readable

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

the paper is a rough quality and cream color.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding on this copy is slightly tattered cream color.

12 Transcription of title page


13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings


15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A


2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?


5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Macmillan Library Refrence, June 1984 Macmillan Library Refrence, June 1984 Warner Books Incorporated, September 1986, October 1988 Buccaneer Books, Incorporated, 1994,1995

6 Last date in print?

November 1995, by Harcourt Brace&Company

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

275,000 (June 9,1983) According to Bowker Annual of Library & Book Trade Information 29th Ed. 1984

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)


9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)


10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

Book Reviews located in New York Times Sat
urday June 4, 1983

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

The name of the Rose.{videorecording}/ produced by Bernnd Eichinger; directed by Jean-Jaques Annaud[et. al] [United States]: New Line Home Video: Distributed exclusively by Image Entertainment, c1994.
Videodisc Release of the 1986 Twentieth Century fox motion picture.
The Name of the Rose[videorecording]/Neue Constantin Film Produktion GmbH Los Angeles, CA : Ebmbassy Home Entertainment, 1987.
Both films are rated R.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Nome della rosa.German Der name der Rose/ Umberto Eco; aus dem Italienischen von Burkhaart Kroeber. Munchen: Hanser, c1982
Il nome della rosa/Umberto Eco. Milano: Bompiani, 1980 (1981 printing)

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

Postscript to the Name of the Rose. By Umberto Eco. Published by Bucaneer Books Incorporated 1995.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Umbreto Eco was born to Giulio and Giovanna (Biso) Eco on January 5, 1932 in Alessandria, Italy. This Italian writer received his Ph.D., in 1954 form University of Turin. Shortly after receiving his Ph.D. at the
age of 24 he published Il problema estetico in san Tommaso, Edizioni di Filosofia, which later went on to be published and translated into English by Hugh Bredin. It was published as The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, Harvard University Press, 1988. Ec
o served in the Italian army from 1958 to 1959 while also serving as editor for cultural programs for RAI (Italian Radio-Television). The end of his military service also marked the end of his employment with RAI and he focused on his position as an assi
stant lecturer at the University of Turin in Turin, Italy. He married a school teacher named Renate Ramge in Semptember 24, 1962. A two years later he began work as lecturer in architecture at the University of Milan in Milan. He has a number of other p
ublished works spanning throughout his career he has also served as an editor and collaborator on a variety of works as well. He has contributed to numerous encyclopedias including Enciclopedia Filosofica and Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics. He als
o continues to participate as a contributor of many essays and reviews to a vary of periodicals, including Espresso, Corriere della Sera, Times Literary Supplement and the list goes on. He is a member of the editorial boards of Semiotica, Poetics Today
, Degre, Strucutralist Review, Text, Communication, Problemi dell'informazione, and Alfabeta. He served as nonfiction editor of Casa Editrice in Bompani, Milan from 1959 to 1975. He currently serves as editor of VS-Semiotic Studies. He currently mainta
ins an address at University di Bologna, Via Toffano 2, Bologna, Italy where he and his wife have two adult children together Stefano and Carlotta

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Contemporary reception history
Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose hit the American Bestsellers list in 1983 and was a breathe of fresh air to the publishing world and lovers of literature across the country. Eco's 14th century monastery mystery provided a new and unique kind of bestse
ller. The novel was described as "an extraordinary work of novelistic art" by Jeffery Schaire in his August 1983 article for Harper's magazine. Upon reviewing book reviews of the release period it is evident that this books efforts to challenge the re
ader beyond basic ?who done it' novel was well received. Eco fills the pages with "methodological doubting versus dogmatism and the use of parody and irony against sectarian thought." Howard Kaminsky, president of Warner Books, when discussing the impact
of Eco's book , "We've printed 1,700,000 copies of Eco. But out of the population of this country there are sure to be enough who want to be challenged by a book. Of course this book is a phenomenon." Judith Martin, "The idea that the public only buys
trash isn't true- as some publishers who've published trash that didn't sell have found out." It seems that one of the main thing s that critics enjoyed most about this book was in fact the challenging read. Eco's success at placing the reader in the mi
dst of 14th century Italian and religious politics is not surprising. Many critics note Eco's academic and intellectual prestige as the foundation for such a "nail biting" adventure. The book was received well overall, however, some critics did find the
overwhelming attention to detail slightly overwhelming at times.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

Barika Toatley April 26,1998 English
Critical Essay Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose chronicles the events of a fourteenth century monastery murder mystery in which William of Baskersville a monk of the Franciscan order enters a Benedictine monastery, placed atop a hill, to investigate the murder o
f young Monk. This novel illustrates the scholarly background of the other. Eco is internationally recognized as one of the leading scholars of semiotics. He also noted as a historian philosopher and James Joyce Scholar. This diverse background provide
s for a very thought provoking read as many critics attest to in their reviews of this book. The dedication to detail can at times be a bit cumbersome, however it is this very detail that allows the reader to engulf and immerse themselves in the unfoldin
g of the plot. One of the things that reviewers of his novel enjoyed most is the accuracy of the historical facts surrounding the very thought provoking and complex text. The name of the rose is filled with symbolism that eludes to signs of the medieval time period as well as that of twentieth century morals and values. "When the reader might begin to weary of visionary rapture or philosophical and theological wrangling.
Number symbolism, alchemical secrets, the language of gems, pagan love charms, a linguistic Quasimodo, and the clockwork of a life ordered by the Benedictine rule further enhances the supernatural atmosphere." (Ferrucci). Umberto Eco dedicates entire c
hapters to the intricacies and history behind things like the inquisition, illustrating the interconnectedness between church and state. Attention to the relationship between church and state is an age old attraction for modern readers. This aspect of t
he novel is particularly interesting to Americans given the main premise of the United States Constitution, in which church and state are required to operate circumspectly of one another. "an alchemical marriage of murder mystery and Christian mystery.
I t conveys remarkably the desperation of a dying culture, while at the same time touching on perennial issues of love, religion, scholarship and politics." (Ferucci). The examination of the relationship between church and state in a historical contacts led critics to herald the book as " amazingly complex, richly textured and unapologetically intelligent." (Ross) The complexity of the book illustrates and reveals the
authors ingenious in creating a novel of this magnitude. Eco's decision to pair up an older skeptical Franciscan with a young eager Adso creates the first of many paradoxes and signs that continue to run throughout the novel. Umberto Eco's pursuits and
perspectives on semiotics are most clearly illustrated in the dialogues between the two sleuths. For example William's insight and skepticism of the authenticity of relics found throughout Christendom is the characteristic that modern readers identify wit
h the most. William's quest for the "finest library in all of Christendom." Is a search for knowledge that is often hidden from the masses. "Malachi the librarian and his assistant prohibit any direct access to the fragile illuminated manuscripts." (
Dirda) The growing distrust of the government and influential figures allows the reader to identify with William of Baskerville and his quest to knowledge. As William finds out "The library defends itself, immeasurable as the truth it houses, deceitful a
s the false hood it preserves. A spiritual labyrinth, it is also a terrestrial labyrinth. You might not emerge." (Dirda) . The constant search for the truth permeates out culture, yet this search simultaneously creates a feeling of uneasiness. Because w
ith the truth comes knowledge and knowledge complicates issues that formerly appeared to be simple. Acquiring knowledge forces an individual to demand change of the world in which they live. The narration by young Adso adds the voice of retrospect to a novel already rooted in the past. It is this scenery of the Fourteenth century Monastery that allows the author to juxtapose many issues facing modern day society. A society filled with blind
trust of governing powers with underlying themes of corruption. These themes run consistently through out the novel. One critic went as far as to say the William of Baskerville was ahead of his time in terms of skepticism. He believes; "that learning
should be used to help men not dominate them." (Goodman) This ideology is Eco's commentary on societies current state of affairs. Men believe that knowledge belongs to a select few and in effort to maintain a hierarchy of knowledge men will murder to ma
intain their status. William describes modern intellectuals when he says; "This place of forbidden knowledge, is guarded by many and cunning devices. Knowledge is used to conceal rather than to enlighten. I don't like it." (Eco,543). William of Basker
ville''s modern voice in this passage clearly represents the voice of Umberto Eco. Even Adso participates in commentary about the hypocrisy involved in the church hierarchy when he says; "they are interested, not in discovering the guilty, but in burnin
g the accused. Often inquisitors create heretics." This is an utterly complex novel and it presents ideas about faith and trust. "Eco's novel aims to be modernist as well as medieval, to reflect both the time of its action and the time of its telling. William, for example, embodies a spirit of tolerance
and scientific inquiry, that of the approaching Renaissance; he consequently appears a relatively modern man surrounded by religious fanatics, many of these historical figures." (Dirda). William seeks to set an example of inquiry as acceptable. Eco appe
ars to use William to disturb the comfort zones that society is beginning to settle back into in the early 1980's. Through the use of characters in his novel Eco displays the ways in which to go about obtain the truth and that is by examining all of the e
vidence. Resistance is an inevitable part of change, however, with characters like William and Adso we realize how crucial it is to challenge the status quo. As we have studied in this course a lot of the things that determine the success of a novel is not necessarily about how original the plot line or characters are but instead on how well an author is able to recreate a successful story line and character d
escription. The two main characters in "The Name of the Rose" are often compared to Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The escapades of Holmes and Watson mirror the sleuthing done by William of Baskersville and Adso of Melk. "Just as master and disciple arrive
at the abbey, a young monk commits suicide under suspicious circumstances. The worldly abbot asks the Sherlock Holmes-like Franciscan- a disillusioned inquisitor and former pupil of Roger Bacon- to investigate the shadowy affair. To this end, William is
granted free run of the establishment-except for the library, the finest in all Christendom" (Dirda) The 1980' s is often characterized as the decade of economic growth in which everyone was out to get there BMW and capitalize and ride the wave of the economic booms being felt all over the world. The United States was rapidly turning into a culture fill
ed with questioning of norms placed on society by larger over arching groups. Particular in light of the previous decades in which several leaders were slain in the search for truth and equality. The mysteries behind the deaths of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. John F. Kennedy and the scandal of Richard Nixon's involvement in Watergate are still fresh on the minds of many Americans. Scandal is now common place and not an unfathomable part of international culture. Star Wars, battle for nuclear arms is gro
wing expense for defense of our country. Like the labyrinth that hides the books of knowledge in the novel, America's government forces hide the truth from its people. The eighties is the decade of tell all novels, investigative reporting becomes common
place. The United States stands as a country of democracy in which everyone is able to question the powers that be. Americans see the way that communism oppresses her people by a select few holding on to knowledge and dictating the lives of the masses.
The Fourteenth century church in this novel seeks to control all within her reach and those do not conform are labeled as heretics and are tortured until they submit to the desired view. "So too this novel can be read as a poetic synthesis of the early
14th century, and as oblique commentary on the excesses of the 20th." (Dirda) Examining the current constructs of our society one is able to recognize the individual's pursuit for success no matter what the cost even if that means hoarding knowledge and
making it inaccessible to others. "Eco tells us that he "translated" this manuscript in 1968- at the very time a youthful revolutionary populism was overturning the old order hoping to forestall a fiery Armageddon and establish a new Jerusalem." (Dirda)
Umberto Eco saught to capture the fervor of the revolutionaries of the 1960's and people desired to return to a time of challenging societal pressures. This desire can possibly be attributed to the success of this novel. Mr. Eco writes for L'Espresso magazine in which he uses "both intelligence and flexibility, he has become the spokesman of a philosophical trend that could be labeled as a kind of "neo-enlightenment." His approach entails methodological doubting versus
dogmatism, and the use of parody and irony against sectarian though; his idea of culture is that it is mainly a channel of interdisciplinary exchange rather than a provider of certainties or a chapel for hermetic and initittory rites"(Ferruci). It his un
derstanding of the mix of symbols and challenge of ideas that places Mr. Eco at the forefront. "The Name of the Rose" remained popular for approximately one year after its translation into English. This title for Umberto Eco serves as a point of reference of his greatest work thus far. He has since published other essays on Semiotics along with a
postscript to "The Name of the Rose." Readers also revisited this complex novel upon the release of the 1994 film version of the novel.

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