The Name of the Rose (Picador Books)

by Umberto Eco, William Weaver | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0330284789 Global Overview for this book
Registered by cluricaune of Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on 1/31/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by cluricaune from Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Umberto Eco is internationally renowned as an author, a philosopher, a literary critic and a historian. He is also a professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna and lives in Milan. "The Name of the Rose", his debut novel, was first published in Italy in 1980 and became a bestseller throughout the world. It was also adapted for the big screen in 1986, a version that starred Sean Connery and Christian Slater.

"The Name of the Rose" is set in the fourteenth century and is told by Adso of Melk - an aged Benedictine Abbot looking back to a journey he took as a novice. Adso's father was a German nobleman loyal to Louis the Bavarian and arranged for the young Adso to travel with him to Italy - there, he hoped to see Louis crowned Holy Roman Emperor. However, with his father's time subsequently taken up with the Siege of Pisa, Adso was placed in the care of William of Baskerville - not only a shrewd, learned and wise Franciscan, but also a former Inquisitor. Together, the pair travel to a Benedictine abbey in the northern Italian mountains.

The arena in which William and Adso operate is at least as political as it is religious. There are great differences of opinion between the orders on a number of topics - the most relevant to the story involves a difference in opinion about poverty between the Franciscan Order and the Pope. Since the Pope and the Emperor don't see eye-to-eye either, Louis has obviously sided with the Franciscans. The Order's Head, Michael of Cesena, has been summoned several times to Avignon - where the Papal Court was held at the time - officially to deal conclusively with the matter. However, since many suspect this would actually involve Michael being charged with heresy, the Emperor feels it best if Michael travels as part of an official Imperial delegation. As the whole matter is proving increasingly difficult to deal with, a preliminary meeting has been arranged to lay out the opposing points of view. William has been appointed the Emperor's representative, and the meeting is taking place at the abbey to which he and Adso are travelling.

As it happens, the pair are given much more to think about than just the meeting. Not long before William and Adso arrived, one of the abbey's most skilled illuminators - Adelmo of Otranto - had been found dead at the foot of some cliffs beneath the abbey. The Abbot suspects the young monk was murdered, and asks William to investigate. Things are not made entirely easy for the pair : although Adelmo may have been pushed to his death from the upper floor of the library, they are forbidden from entering that area. Nevertheless, with the meeting imminent, they know it's vital to have everything cleared up as soon as possible - preferably with out any more deaths...

This is a hugely enjoyable book - the only real flaw is that it's occasionally a little over-descriptive. However, it makes a nice change to read a murder-mystery than relies solely on the skills of the investigator - particularly one as likeable as William - without any help from forensics, fingerprinting or DNA sampling. The 'back-story', relating to the meeting, added a nice political spin to things. It also added a certain amount of panic for some of the characters, as the Pope's representative is also a practising Inquisitor . Very highly recommended.

Journal Entry 2 by cluricaune from Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Saturday, May 19, 2007
Travelling to Canada.

Journal Entry 3 by Ibis3 from Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Saturday, May 26, 2007
Thanks so much for the RABCK cluricaune! I'll let you know how reading something using that new-fangled invention (print) goes. :D

I've been meaning to read this for years! (I say this about 10 years after having *finished* a Master's degree in mediaeval studies [blush].)

Journal Entry 4 by Ibis3 at Newcastle, Ontario Canada on Sunday, August 01, 2010
A very enjoyable read overall. With all the Latin and the medieval politics and debating over praxis and theology, it was a little like visiting an old friend that one has considerable fondness for still. I recalled too much from the film, so neither the answer to the puzzle or the final climax were surprises, which was too bad. I'd have liked to read it fresh, without any foreknowledge. I loved the descriptions of the library and only wish that Eco would have spared it its eventual fate. I liked both Adso and our Sherlock Holmes stand-in and follower of William of Occam, William Baskerville.

Thanks, cluricaune! If BookCrossing reliability returns, I'll release it in the wild or RABCK it.

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