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Umberto Eco
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Author
    (January 5, 1932-February 19, 2016)
    Born in Alessandria, Italy
    Italian author and professor
    Best known in the United States as the author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum'
    Earned a doctorate from the University of Turin
    Specialist in semiotics, the study of symbols
    Promoted the idea of the open text, that is the reader should be able to take multiple meanings away from a text
    Large (and critical) passages in 'The Name of the Rose' are in Latin, meaning you have to stop reading the book as it nears its climax and try to find a translation to continue.
    When asked why he wrote The Name of the Rose, he answered that he felt like poisoning a monk.
    He left the Catholic Church in his early twenties, but fifty years later he still seemed obsessed with it in his writings.
    He didn't have email and disliked using the internet in his research because searches provide too many sources and he couldn't look at all of them.
    He chain-smoked.
    None of his writings, academic or popular received a major award.
    In addition to semiotics, he made major contributions to the study of aesthetics, anthropology and literary theory.
    His personal libraries, split between his two homes contain over 50,000 volumes.
    He was married over thirty years.
    'The Name of the Rose' alone has sold 25 million copies.
    'Foucault's Pendulum' has been called the thinking man's 'Da Vinci Code.'
    He did his doctoral dissertation on aesthetics in Thomas Aquinas' writings.
    He wrote children's books.
    He taught at Oxford and Harvard.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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