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Umberto Eco


Italian philosopher, semiotician, essayist, literary critic, and novelist, most famous for his novel The Name of the Rose (1980), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.
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Umberto Eco
I started to write [The Name of the Rose] in March of 1978, moved by a seminal idea. I wanted to poison a monk.
Eco quotes
"That man is ... odd," I dared say to William.
"He is, or has been, in many ways a great man. But for this very reason he is odd. It is only petty men who seem normal."
Eco
A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection — not an invitation for hypnosis.




Eco Umberto quotes
Semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth: it cannot in fact be used "to tell" at all.
Eco Umberto
In the United States, politics is a profession, whereas in Europe it is a right and a duty.
Umberto Eco quotes
Because learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do.
Umberto Eco
"Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus."
Eco Umberto quotes
A monk should surely love his books with humility, wishing their good and not the glory of his own curiosity; but what the temptation of adultery is for laymen and the yearning for riches is for secular ecclesiastics, the seduction of knowledge is for monks.
Eco
I don't miss my youth. I'm glad I had one, but I wouldn't like to start over.
Eco Umberto
The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. If it had been possible he would have settled the matter otherwise, and without bloodshed. He doesn't boast of his own death or of others'. But he does not repent. He suffers and keeps his mouth shut; if anything, others then exploit him, making him a myth, while he, the man worthy of esteem, was only a poor creature who reacted with dignity and courage in an event bigger than he was.
Umberto Eco
Not long ago, if you wanted to seize political power in a country you had merely to control the army and the police. Today it is only in the most backward countries that fascist generals, in carrying out a coup d'état, still use tanks. If a country has reached a high degree of industrialization the whole scene changes. The day after the fall of Khrushchev, the editors of Pravda, Izvestiia, the heads of the radio and television were replaced; the army wasn't called out. Today a country belongs to the person who controls communications.




Umberto Eco quotes
There are magic moments, involving great physical fatigue and intense motor excitement, that produce visions of people known in the past. As I learned later from the delightful little book of the Abbé de Bucquoy, there are also visions of books as yet unwritten.
Umberto Eco
"The hand of God creates; it does not conceal."
Eco quotes
Reflecting on these complex relationships between reader and story, fiction and life, can constitute a form of therapy against the sleep of reason, which generates monsters.
Eco Umberto
To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.
Eco Umberto quotes
Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.
Umberto Eco
Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn't ask ourselves what it says but what it means...
Umberto Eco quotes
There is only one thing that arouses animals more than pleasure, and that is pain. Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but towards hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him.
Umberto Eco
"The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came."
Eco Umberto
After all, the cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopaedia.
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