Eco Umberto 1932 - 2016 (84)

Each of us is sometimes a cretin, a fool, a moron, or a lunatic. A normal person is just a reasonable mix of these components, these four ideal types.


Foucault's Pendulum

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”
“There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics…Cretins don’t even talk; they sort of slobber and stumble…Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions.

Umberto Eco was an Italian philosopher, writer, critic, semiotician, and university professor. He was born in Alessandria, northern Italy, on January 5, 1932 and his childhood was marked by the Second World War. In 12 he went with his mother to a mountain village for safety, in the surrounding hills many battles took place with Umberto eyewitness, "like seeing westerns" he said later. His father wanted him to become a lawyer so he began legal studies but soon he changed to study medieval philosophy and literature. In 1954 he took his doctorate with a thesis on Thomas Aquinas. He was hired by the State Italian television (RAI) where he worked until 1959 as director of the cultural program. After that he became editor at major publishing houses and wrote dozens of essays on philosophy and language and more specifically on semiotics and its impact on society. In 1966 he was elected professor of semiotics at Milan university. In 1974 he organized the International Association of Semiotics Studies.

Once said that he saw novel as a childish creature, after 1970 he began to write novels, with a huge success as it turned out. "The Name of the Rose", was released in 1980 and sold 9,000,000 copies worldwide, making him famous throughout the world. The novel has to do with the search for a rare manuscript of Aristotle in a Benedictine monastery of the 14th century. And his next novels ,had great success, like "The Foucault's Pendulum " a mysterious book with secret societies, plots and conspiracies. Other novels: "The island of the day before" (1994), "Baoundolino" (2001), "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" (2006), " The Prague Cemetery " (2010).

Eco knew five languages, including ancient Greek, he was married and had two children, he lived in Milan, having in his house a 30,000-volume library. He died of cancer on February 19, 2016.