35 Facts About Umberto Eco


Umberto Eco was an Italian medievalist, philosopher, semiotician, novelist, cultural critic, and political and social commentator.


Umberto Eco was born on 5 January 1932 in the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont in northern Italy.


Umberto Eco's village was liberated in 1945, and he was exposed to American comic books, the European Resistance, and the Holocaust.


Umberto Eco received a Salesian education and made references to the order and its founder in his works and interviews.


Towards the end of his life, Umberto Eco came to believe that his family name was an acronym of ex caelis oblatus.


In 1958, Umberto Eco left RAI and the University of Turin to complete 18 months of compulsory military service in the Italian Army.


In 1959, following his return to university teaching, Umberto Eco was approached by Valentino Bompiani to edit a series on "Idee nuove" for his eponymous publishing house in Milan.


That same year, Umberto Eco published his second book, Sviluppo dell'estetica medievale, a scholarly monograph building on his work on Aquinas.


Umberto Eco represents an ideal that nobody need strive to reach because everyone is already at his level.


Over this period, Umberto Eco began seriously developing his ideas on the "open" text and on semiotics, writing many essays on these subjects.


Umberto Eco came to these positions through study of language and from semiotics, rather than from psychology or historical analysis.


That same year, Umberto Eco stepped down from his position as senior non-fiction editor at Bompiani.


From 1977 to 1978 Umberto Eco was a visiting professor at Yale University and then at Columbia University.


Umberto Eco returned to Yale from 1980 to 1981, and Columbia in 1984.


Umberto Eco drew on his background as a medievalist in his first novel The Name of the Rose, a historical mystery set in a 14th-century monastery.


Umberto Eco's name evokes both William of Ockham and Sherlock Holmes ; several passages which describe him are strongly reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's descriptions of Holmes.


In 1988, Umberto Eco founded the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Republic of San Marino, and in 1992 he founded the Institute of Communication Disciplines at University of Bologna, later founding the Higher School for the Study of the Humanities at the same institution.


In 1988, at the University of Bologna, Umberto Eco created an unusual program called Anthropology of the West from the perspective of non-Westerners, as defined by their own criteria.


Umberto Eco developed this transcultural international network based on the idea of Alain le Pichon in West Africa.


From 1992 to 1993, Umberto Eco was a visiting professor at Harvard University and from 2001 to 2002, at St Anne's College, Oxford.


In 1971, Umberto Eco co-founded Versus: Quaderni di studi semiotici, a semiotic journal.


Umberto Eco's fiction has enjoyed a wide audience around the world, with many translations.


Umberto Eco's novels are full of subtle, often multilingual, references to literature and history.


Umberto Eco cited James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges as the two modern authors who have influenced his work the most.


Umberto Eco was a translator: he translated into Italian Raymond Queneau's Exercices de style.


Umberto Eco's translation was published under the title Esercizi di stile in 1983.


Umberto Eco was the translator of Sylvie, a novella by Gerard de Nerval.


At the other end of the spectrum, Umberto Eco has been praised for his levity and encyclopedic knowledge, which allowed him to make abstruse academic subjects accessible and engaging.


In 2005, Umberto Eco was honoured with the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, along with Roger Angell.


In 2010, Umberto Eco was invited to join the Accademia dei Lincei.


Umberto Eco was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the University of Odense in 1986, Loyola University Chicago in 1987, the University of Glasgow in 1990, the University of Kent in 1992, Indiana University Bloomington in 1992, University of Tartu in 1996, Rutgers University in 2002, and the University of Belgrade in 2009.


Additionally, Umberto Eco was an honorary fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford.


Umberto Eco divided his time between an apartment in Milan and a vacation house near Urbino.


Umberto Eco had a 30,000-volume library in the former and a 20,000-volume library in the latter.


Umberto Eco died at his Milanese home of pancreatic cancer, from which he had been suffering for two years, on the night of 19 February 2016.