Showing posts with label Italian literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian literature. Show all posts

Umberto Eco

Born on January 5, 1932 in Alessandria, northern Italy, the son of an accountant studied medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin, earning his laurea degree in philosophy in 1954. Following service in the Italian Army, he worked for the Italian public broadcaster RAI, before becoming a senior editor at a Milan publishing house.
Over the next few decades, Eco would go on to write and edit countless scholarly books, essays and columns on mass media and culture, semiotics (the study of signs and symbols), aesthetics and literary criticism. He is famous for his notion of the "open work," which postulates that literary texts compose fields of meaning, rather than unequivocal, linear narratives of thought - lending them more space for diverse interpretation.
All of that work likely informed the labyrinthine murder mystery "The Name of the Rose," which, among other things, analyzes texts and symbols in a medieval religious context. Five novels have followed, including "Foucault's Pendulum" and "The Island of the Day Before." His latest, "The Prague Cemetery," published in 2010, freewheels through everything from conspiracy theories to anti-Semitism.

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Signo's Website


ECO, U., Segno, Milan : ISEDI, 1973.In Italian

In English

ECO, U., The Open Work, trans. Anna Cangogni, Cambridg, MA : Harvard University Press, 1989 [1962].
ECO, U., A Theory of Semiotics, Bloomington: Indiana U.P., 1976 [1975] (the complete English translation of Trattato di semiotica generale, Milano: Bompiani, 1975).
ECO, U., The Role of the Reader, Bloomington and London: Indiana U.P. and Hutchinson, 1981 [1979] (includes essays from: Opera apertaApocalittici e integratiForme del contenuto, Lector in Fabula , Il Superuomo di massa ).
ECO, U., Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.
ECO, U., The Limits of Interpretation, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
ECO, U., Interpretation and Overinterpretatio, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
ECO, U., The Search for the Perfect Language (The Making of Europe), trans. James Fentress, Oxford : Blackwell Publishing, 1995 [1993].
ECO, U., Six Walks in the Fictional Woods, Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 1995 [1994].

In French

ECO, U. (1965) [1962], L'Oeuvre ouverte, Paris: Seuil, 1965 [1962].
ECO, U., La structure absente, Paris: Mercure, 1972 [1968].
ECO, U., La production des signes, Paris: Livre de Poche, (1976) [1975] (a partial translation into French of Trattato di semiotica generale).
ECO, U., De Superman au Surhomme, Paris: Grasset, 1993 [1976].
ECO, U., Lector in fabula, Paris: Grasset, 1985 [1979].
ECO, U., La Guerre du faux, Paris: Grasset, 1985 [1983].
ECO, Umberto, Sémiotique et philosophie du langage, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, (1988) [1984].
ECO, U., Notes sur la sémiotique de la réceptionActes Sémiotiques, Paris, IX, no 81, 1987.
ECO, U., Le signe, Bruxelles: Labor, 1988 (about 40% of Segno (1973) in French translation).
ECO, U., Les limites de l'interprétation, Paris: Grasset, 1992 [1990].
ECO, U., Interprétation et surinterprétation, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1995 [1992].
ECO, U., La recherche de la langue parfaite dans la culture européenne, Paris: Seuil, 1994 [1993].
ECO, U., Six promenades dans les bois du roman et ailleurs, Paris: Grasset, 1996 [1994].


  • Modes of Sign Production
  • Textual Cooperation
  • The Semiotic Process and the Classification of Sign


  • Mystery
Daring to lift my eyes
towards the dry treetops,
I don't see God, but his light
is immensely shining.

Of all the things I know
my heart feels only this:
I'm young, alive, alone,
my body consuming itself.

I briefly rest in the tall grasses
of a river bank, under bare
trees, then move along beneath
clouds to live out my young days.

  • Stolen Days
    We who are poor have little time
    for youth and beauty:
    you can do well without us.

    Our birth enslaves us!
    butterflies shorn of all beauty,
    buried in the chrysalis of time.

    The wealthy don't pay for our time:
    those days stolen from beauty
    possessed by our fathers and us.

    Will time's hunger never die?

  • Vincent
Vincent won't go to the fair in the towns of the Friuli,
they play only church bells not violins in the Friuli!
When he sees some poor man lost in a square of Friuli
he gives him his jacket since he's sheltered by some wall,
when he sees a poor man lost and alone in the Friuli
he gladly gives him his heart as the sky turns to dusk.
"Good-bye, mom, good-bye, dad I am leaving the Friuli
I'm leaving for America, the glory of the Friuli!"
The train is taking me toward the clear blue sea,
oh, the sad loneliness of dying so far from Friuli.

  • I'm Glad 
In the roughness of Saturday night 
I'm glad to watch people 
outside laughing in the open air.

My heart also is made of air 
my eyes reflect the joy of the people 
and in my hair shines Saturday night.

Young man, I'm glad with my miserly 
Saturday night, I'm happy with people 
I am alive, I am happy with the air.
I am used to the evil of Saturday night.

  • Nineteen Forty-four 
The rats no longer crawl, the swallows are screeching 
Pigeons won't fly, chickens are scratching the ground. 
No warning bells for tempests, only for Avemaria. 
The garden gate swings open and a pale child 
Comes out running , he sits on a pile of stones 
And plays all alone with a shiny tin can. 
His mom is in the kitchen, with shaky hands 
she chops kindling sticks, her knee on the worn floor. 
Then lighting a match she hangs the milk pot 
Over the fire while blowing to kindle the flame. 
Outside again bells ring everywhere Avemaria, 
in every poor town filled with melancholy. 
At fifteen, at nineteen years! Buttoning their pants 
the young men come around, they pull her pony tail: 
Mom, we're really hungry, get our breakfast ready! 
Half-naked they run outside underneath the down spout 
and from the rain barrel, laughing, one washes up 
while the other combs his hair, like two poplar trees. 
O dear God, don't forget what has happened to us 
protect our passions, look upon us and have pity. 
Our lands are in the hands of total strangers, 
they made us prisoners in their own homeland. 
The children and the old they hung in the square, 
our unmarried women they raped and abused. 
Our happiness and joy has dried up in our hearts, 
our smiling and our laughter have flown so far away. 
Along the railroad tracks, along those endless roads 
we jeopardize our lives to find a piece of bread. 
Call us to you, O Lord and we will call on you, 
bring back our days of old as they were once before.

  • Song of the Church Bells 
When evening dips inside water fountains
my town disappears among muted hues.

From far away I remember frogs croaking,
the moonlight, the cricket's sad cries.

The fields devour the Vespers' church bells
but I am dead to the sound of those bells.

Stranger, don't fear my tender return
across mountains, I am the spirit of love
coming back home from faraway shores.