Umberto Eco was born on this day in 1932

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ECO (EK-oh)

Umberto Eco – Italian novelist
Common clues:
"Foucault's Pendulum" novelist; "The Name of the Rose" author; Author Umberto; Italian writer Umberto
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a month
Frequency in English language: 19768 / 86800
Umberto Eco: How I Write

When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything.

Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco (5 January 1932 – 19 February 2016) was an Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher, semiotician, and university professor. He is best known internationally for his 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), a historical mystery combining semiotics in fiction with biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory. He later wrote other novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, was a best-seller.

Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the region of Piedmont. His father, Giulio, was an accountant before the government called upon him to serve in three wars. During World War II, Umberto and his mother, Giovanna, moved to a small village in the Piedmontese mountain side.

Eco has enjoyed a wide audience around the world, with good sales and many translations. His novels often include references to arcane historical figures and texts and his dense, intricate plots tend to take dizzying turns.

Eco employed his education as a medievalist in his novel The Name of the Rose, a historic mystery set in a 14th century monastary. English friar William of Baskerville, aided by his apprentice Adso, investigates a series of murders at a monastery that is set to host an important religious debate. Eco is particularly good at translating medieval religious controversies and heresies into modern political and economic terms so that the reader can appreciate their substance without being a theologian. The Name of the Rose was later made into a motion picture starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater.

Foucault's Pendulum, Eco's second novel, has also sold well. In Foucault's Pendulum, three under-employed editors who work for a minor publishing house decide to amuse themselves by inventing a conspiracy theory. Their conspiracy, which they call "The Plan", is about an immense and intricate plot to take over the world by a secret order descended from the Knights Templar. As the game goes on, the three slowly become obsessed with the details of this plan. The game turns dangerous when outsiders learn of The Plan, and believe that the men have really discovered the secret to regaining the lost treasure of the Templars.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Umberto Eco".