Saturday, February 20, 2016

Death of Umberto Eco, author of the medieval novel “The Name of the Rose” – The World

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The writer was committed against Silvio Berlusconi, as here, in Milan, in 2011.

Philosopher, writer and essayist Umberto Eco has died aged 84, on Friday evening February 19 at his home in Milan with cancer, his family has confirmed the Italian daily La Repubblica

a pioneer of semiotics. – the science of signs – and theoretician of language (including reception), which runs in any watermark throughout his novels, author of numerous essays on aesthetics and the media, he wrote late in his first novel, which enjoyed considerable success, the Name of the pink published in 1980 in Fabbri-Bompiani . The police investigation into a religious community XIV th century, translated into forty languages ​​and adapted to cinema, assured him an almost universal recognition.

Read also: the unexpected success of the “Name of the rose”, the masterpiece Umberto Eco

Born in Piedmont, Alessandria, January 5, 1932, at a family of the lower middle class – his grandfather was a foundling and his father, the eldest of 13 children, is the first to pass the world proletarian to that of employees – Umberto Eco grows on war and background maquis ( “between 11 and 13 years, I have learned to avoid the bullets,” , confided this man unusually restive any intimate confidence). After graduate studies in philosophy and aesthetics at Turin, he argued, in 1954, under the direction of fascist philosopher Luigi Pareyson, an end of studies thesis on aesthetics in Thomas Aquinas, it Problema estetico in Tommaso d’Aquino, that will be published in 1956.

But Eco is none to the study. In 1955, he was assistant to television and worked on cultural programs of the Italian public broadcaster RAI. As he befriends the musician Luciano Berio, he joined the Neoavanguardia which although “left”, rejects the “committed” literature; thus, Eco works, from 1956 to journals Il Verri and Rivista di estetica .

He directs, in 1960, a collection of philosophical essays for the Milanese publisher Bompiani, and extends the collective adventure, participating in 1963, with young intellectuals and artists of his generation, such Nanni Balestrini and Alberto Arbasino, in founding the Gruppo 63, when thinking about a new aesthetic comes in the wake of Joyce, Pound, Borges, Gadda – all essential for writers Umberto Eco. Before the austere monthly Quindici , launched in June 1967, future crucible of the 1968 movement, the same team is launching a review of contemporary culture – art, literature, architecture, music – Marcatré (1963-1970), while the young thinker attracted to journalism, began a lasting collaboration with the press ( the Times literary Supplement, in 1963 and L’Espresso in 1965)

But he does not abandon teaching. from 1966 to 1970, he worked successively at the faculty of architecture of Florence and that of Milan, while intervening in the University of Sao Paulo (1966), New York University (1969) and Buenos Aires (1970).

in 1971, the same year he founded Versus international journal of semiotic studies, Eco teaches semiotics at the faculty of letters and philosophy of Bologna, where he obtained the chair of the discipline in 1975. for Eco, this experimental science inaugurated by Roland Barthes is, more than method, an articulation between reflection and literary practice, scholarly and popular cultures. He proves it brilliantly during his lecture at the College de France, where he was the holder of the European Chair in 1992 ( “The quest for a perfect language in the history of European culture” ). With its reputation and moved by an incredible energy, Eco also heads the Institute of communication disciplines and chairs the International Association for Semiotic Studies.

For a critical commitment to media

His first experiences on Italian TV put early Umberto Eco in contact with the mass media and new forms of expression, such as television series or the world of variety. He discovered the kitsch and the stars of the small screen. As many aspects of popular culture that it addresses in Apocalittíci e integrati (1964), The War of false , a book published in France in 1985 from articles written between 1973 and 1983, and Superman in Superman (1976 -1993).

Apocalittíci e Integrati , in particular, it differs in the media reception, an “apocalyptic” attitude, holding an elitist vision of culture and nostalgic, and another “integrated” that favors free access to cultural products without questioning their production. From there, Eco argues for a critical commitment to the media. Subsequently, his research will lead him to consider the kinds considered minor, such as the detective story or novelette, which analyzes the processes and structures, but also some phenomena specific to contemporary civilization as football stardom, advertising, fashion or terrorism. Hence his active participation in the debates of the city, whether at the local or global …

Read our interview for his latest book: Umberto Eco ” Long live critical journalism! “

If curiosity and Umberto Eco investigation field know few limits, the constant of his analysis is the will of ” see sense where one might not see that the facts “. It is in this context that he sought to develop a general semiotics, exposed, among others, in The absent Structure (1968 [1972]), The Sign, history and analysis a concept (1971 [1988]), even in his general semiotics Treaty (1975). Thus he contributes to the development of an aesthetic interpretation.

He is concerned about the definition of art, he tries to make from The Open Work (1962 [1965]), where he lays the foundation of his theory by showing, through a series of articles looking statements about literature and music, the artwork is a mixed message, open to infinite interpretations insofar several meanings coexist within a single signifier. The text is not a finished object, but rather an “open” object the player can not just passively receive and involves, for its part, a work of invention and interpretation. The main thrust of Umberto Eco, taken up and developed in Lector in fabula (1979 [1985]), is that the text because it does not say everything, requires the cooperation of the reader .

Also the semiotician he develops the concept of “model reader” ideal reader that meets standards set by the author and which not only has the skills to grasp his intentions, but also know “interpret the unspoken text” . The text is presented as an interactive field where writing, semantic association, stimulates the reader, whose cooperation is an integral part of the implementation strategy by the author.

The limits of interpretation (1990 [1992]), Umberto Eco still stop once on the relationship between author and reader. He questions the definition of interpretation and on its very possibility. If a text can support all directions, he said everything and anything. For that interpretation to be possible, we need to find her limits as this one must be finished in order to produce meaning. Umberto Eco is interested there applications for critical systems and risk of flattening text inherent in any interpretative approach. In The Search for the Perfect Language in European culture (1993), and studies the founding projects that animated the quest for a perfect language. A universal language which is not a separate language, original and utopian language or artificial language, but a language ideally consists of all languages.

A successful novelist

Professor, writer and researcher, Eco has throughout his career resumed in collecting many of his lectures and contributions, more humorous ( Pastiches and hairpieces 1963 [1988] , How to travel with a salmon 1992 [1998] ) to the most controversial ( believe in what? 1996 [1998] , Five questions of morality 1997 [2000] ) . But if, finding that he had raised the bet for Bompiani in the late 1950s by producing an illustrated short, The Great history of inventions , he tried belatedly to personal syntheses on Beauty’s Story (2004), ugliness (2007) or legend of places (2013), on the sidelines of a typing list Vertigo (2009) which crosses your knowledge of the scholar and the freedom of the writer Umberto Eco is also a novelist.

His works of fiction are somehow the application of theories in the open Work or Lector in fabula . His first two novels, Pink Name (1980 [1982]) and Foucault’s Pendulum (1988 [1990]), who encounter against all odds phenomenal success were as novels mingling esoteric humor and police investigation.

for each page, erudition and sagacity of the reader are solicited by an enigma, a hint, a pastiche or a quote. The first novel, set in 1327, in a troubled time of political and religious crisis, heresy hunts and inquisitorial, is set in an abbey where a Franciscan monk, forerunner of Sherlock Holmes, trying to solve a series of obscure crimes. From there, three readings are possible, depending on whether one is passionate about the plot, which follows the debate of ideas or that attaches to the allegorical dimension which has, through the multiple game quotes, “is a book of books” . Umberto Eco Borges player and Aquinas is more present than ever in this novel which was a worldwide success and was adapted to film by Jean-Jacques Annaud with Sean Connery in the lead role. Foucault’s Pendulum combines history and current events through an investigation conducted over several centuries, from the Templars in the esoteric sects.

Third romantic game, the Island of the day before (1994 [1996]) is an evocation of the small Italian landed nobility XVII th century. The story of a sentimental education, but also, through a description of the Piedmontese identity, a nostalgic romance and partly autobiographical: the author examines its roots, as he did later in his most book staff, the Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (2004 [2005]), a kind of self-portrait dressed as colorful harlequin coat illustrated images of childhood. Amnesiac searching for his past, Yambo, double Eco rebuilt her identity based on his early readings of the 1930s, when French adventure novels and American comics competed fascist propaganda. This intimate, unique escape in a man whose modesty is the rule, is unprecedented.

Baudolino (2000 [2002]), chronic dazzling time of Frederick Barbarossa held a genius forger, number Zero (2015), as dark fable fierce pinning contemporary bankruptcy information, via the Prague Cemetery ( 2010 [2011]), where the theme of the plot, if present in the work, is the heart of a chilling fiction, Eco revives a larger scale, more ethical questions where scholarship and compete for the malice game, the true and the false, the form also, since the writer likes to cross the registers and the challenges multiply.

Eco is one of the names given to children without identity, Latin acronym convenes providence ( “ex oblatus coelis” , gift of heaven somehow). It took at least this nod to the more mischievous of the scholars, the most literate dreamers. If Dante parodied in 12 years when it wanted tram driver, Umberto Eco disarms still as commentators. Philosopher for integrating the venerable and highly selective Library of Living Philosophers, however, it seems destined for a novelist to posterity. Sort of Mirandola converted to Oulipo, the one the medievalist Jacques Le Goff, who advised the director of rose Name called “the great alchemist” is at least certainly the ideal plural thinker of textual obsessed, lovers player.

Umberto Eco in dates

January 5, 1932: Born in Alessandria

1955-1958: assistant RAI

1962 the open work (Seuil, 1965), the founding text of his work semiotic

1975: semiotics Chair at the University of Bologna

1980: Il nome della rosa [ pink Name (Grasset, 1982] adapted to film in 1986 by Jean-Jacques Annaud

1992-1993: holder of European Chair at the Collège de France

2000: Baudolino (Grasset, 2002)

2015: out of his latest novel, number zero

February 19, 2016: Death at the age of 84 years


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