Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities

Buy the paperback

The Name of the Rose
byUmberto Eco

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature:
Novel by Umberto Eco, published in Italian as Il nome della rosa in 1980. Although the work stands on its own as a murder mystery, it is more accurately seen as a questioning of "truth" from theological, philosophical, scholarly, and historical perspectives. The story centers on William of Baskerville, a 50-year-old monk who is sent to investigate a death at a Benedictine monastery. During his search, several other monks are killed in a bizarre pattern that reflects the Book of Revelation. Highly rational, Baskerville meets his nemesis in Jorge of Burgos, a doctrinaire blind monk determined to destroy heresy at any cost.

Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (1 of 11), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000 08:06 AM For anyone having difficulty at the beginning, this from Umberto Eco himself: But there was another reason for including those long didactic passages. After reading the manuscript, my friends and editors suggested I abbreviate the first hundred pages, which they found very difficult and demanding. Without thinking twice, I refused, because, as I insisted, if somebody wanted to enter the abbey and live there for seven days, he had to accept the abbey's own pace. If he could not, he would never manage to read the whole book. Therefore those first hundred pages are like a penance or an initiation, and if someone does not like them, so much the for worse for him. He can stay at the foot of the hill. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (2 of 11), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Thursday, June 08, 2000 08:14 AM Thanks, Steve. The thing is, I rather liked the first 100 pages, but it was slow going. It did exactly what Eco said. It set the pace, the stage, the frame of mind. There are a few didactic pages after that, as well. and there's lots of Latin that I have no idea how to interpret, but I read them anyway. Sort of like, I don't know what I'm saying when I'm singing in a choir that's doing a Mass, but it puts me in the right mood. I'm almost through reading it. On the whole, it flies, because of the mystery. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (3 of 11), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 07:17 AM Someone on another post had mentioned the comparison of THE NAME OF THE ROSE to Sherlock Holmes. I had responded that I knew Adso was an Italian diminutive of Watson. I found this little tidbit of info...In "old" Italian , Adso was pronounced "Odsn"....short jump to "Watson." Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (4 of 11), Read 15 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 12:09 PM I am just chopping at the bit to discuss this book.... Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (5 of 11), Read 16 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 12:10 PM Well, go ahead, Beej. I'm finished. Just put a good spoiler sign up if you're going to give anything away. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (6 of 11), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 12:35 PM Spoilers be damned! I've always thought this book could use a few good spoilers. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (7 of 11), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 12:58 PM You know,there is nothing i really could "spoil" because the murder plot is, to me, secondary to what i believe is the meat of this book. In my opinion, the meat (and the genius of this book) is sentence after sentence after sentence of parable and symbolism. I could read this book over and over for a year and still not understand all Eco is saying about the Catholic Church.I am a "Cradle Catholic" but have NEVER read anything concerning the church that said so much. Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (8 of 11), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 01:12 PM PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wait until the 15th, spoilers or no spoilers. You can post at 12:01 AM on the 15th, but please, not before. Ok? The premature discussion on Miss Lonelyhearts made it difficult for me to join in. By the time I finally got around to reading it, the fun of the discussion was ruined for me. I, too, would like to discuss as I'm reading, but have deliberately held off on the meat of the book so everyone can start on the same page. , pleading to the considerate side of CR's.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (9 of 11), Read 20 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 01:16 PM Its sooo hard for me to wait and patience is not one of my strengths, but i know it is the fair thing to do. I won't say another word until the 15th! :-) Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (10 of 11), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 01:23 PM Beej, Kay & All: I will zip my lip until the 15th also, but in the meantime want to say that I've only read one other novel than NOTR that I felt held as many layers of meaning about the history of the Christian church. Though I hesitate to follow a cement block of a book with the recommendation of another cement block of a book, the novel GOSPEL, by Wilson Barnhardt, held me captivated through its (600? 700? 800+?) pages. >>Dale in Ala., ducking before he gets beaned by a digital cement block
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (11 of 11), Read 4 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 09, 2000 05:08 PM Beej and Dale- What fine, noble, and magnanamous readers you both are. Thanks. , who is working her way up from the bottom of her TBR NOW pile.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (14 of 20), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000 08:03 AM I finished about a week before I thought I would. I started it about the first, and allowed myself two hours reading a day, and I did it in a week. Must be some kind of record for me (I'm usually pretty slow). It's really a faster read than I thought. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (15 of 20), Read 31 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000 08:11 AM Sherry & All: It's been years and years since I saw the film version of NAME OF THE ROSE, but as I recall it was an above-average piece of work. I vaguely remember that it seemed to clear up some of the more arcane aspects of the book for me, but it may just be that the film (as films almost invariably have to do) just dispensed with a lot of those aspects altogether. If anybody's seen it more recently, can you advise me as to whether watching the film in conjunction with the book would be helpful or distracting? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (16 of 20), Read 33 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000 08:27 AM I don't know the answer to your question, Dale. I did, however, have a hard time imagining William NOT as Sean Connery. I've got an itch to see the movie again, too. I'll see if I can order it from the library. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (17 of 20), Read 15 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000 02:22 PM Okay, okay. Forbidden to speak substantively of the book, we are. Nonetheless, how's everyone coming? No page numbers. Rather, at what liturgical hour of which day are you? I myself am at "After Compline" on Day Six and galloping home! Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (18 of 20), Read 14 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000 04:21 PM Wear your Wellies; those 14th century monasteries were pig sties. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (19 of 20), Read 3 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000 09:32 PM Dale< I think i am going to try and get hold of the film. I have finished the book but i would like to see if it(the film) clears up some questions i have. Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (20 of 20), Read 2 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000 09:46 PM Which is all well and good, folks. However, I do wish to express the heartfelt wish that this thread does not transform itself into a discussion of the film, The Name of the Rose. I mean, I don't wish to sound like an ass, but maybe someone should start a topic down in Movies, films and videos on the movie. Then those of us interested only in the book can stay here. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (24 of 36), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 06:20 AM Mean ole Sherry checking in here. I put TNOTR this month because there was such a short CC selection. I have a real short one lined up for August. I hope that helps. But honestly, it only took me a week to read. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (25 of 36), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 08:16 AM You're certainly right, Dick. It did sound cranky. Of course, I have always gotten cranky about this business of movies based upon great books. Therefore, I believe that I am at least displaying a foolish consistency. John Zerzan, the great theorist of anarchism from Eugene, Oregon, says, "Now everything is so mediated, real experience is being evacuated at a dizzying speed." He uses the word "mediated" there in a new sense based on the word "media." We have had some great discussions of difficult novels recently here. Those discussions were real experiences "unmediated" by any allusion to some simplified and popularized film version of the books produced for the crowd who would never, ever have read them in the first place. I was hoping for the same on this one. Another real experience instead of a mediated one. I can endure anything here, however, so any approach that CRs wish to take to this one is fine with me. Beej, please do not take any of the above personally. By all means watch the film. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (26 of 36), Read 40 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 09:52 AM By the way, Dick, do I detect a note of boredom with The Name of the Rose in your later notes here? I would certainly have expected otherwise regarding a book wherein the mystery of who murdered the monks is of such secondary importance as to be of no importance at all while the primary and vitally important mystery is whether Christ laughed. I was hoping you would be the one to explain the subtle differences between the various heresies and where precisely they crossed over the outer limit of orthodoxy, all interspersed with informative links--for example, a link to the Minorites' website. I also expected you to be the one to fill us in on Bacon and Occam. Ah, well. Perhaps someone else will undertake that role. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (27 of 36), Read 48 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 10:26 AM I'll help out were I can, Steve, but right now I'm helping out down at the synagogue in preparation for my mikveh. As for the Minorites, them's just Franciscans, or Ordon Fratrum Minorum as Rome likes to call 'em. Also, known as the Grey Friars (England); the Gabrodrene (Grey frianrs; Scan.), the Barfusser (barefoot; Gr.), Crodeliers (from their rope belt; Fr.) and as the Frati Minori (It.) It remains to be seen how much we need to go into the Observants, the Recollects and the Conventuals. Suffice it to say for now that the Observants were often called the "Zoccolanti" in Italy, after their footwear. Actually, this book is a piece of cake, provided only that you read about 12,000 pages of historical, philosophical and semiotic commentary along with it to keep track of what's going on. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (28 of 36), Read 56 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 10:28 AM Atta boy! That's more like it! Still, how can we avoid the Spirituals and most particularly Fra Dolcino's sect, the most dangerous heretics of all? As I understand it, that whole controversy grew out of the embarrassment to the very wealthy Church caused by Christ's own poverty. For a graphic, contemporary account of the mechanics of how the Inquisition dealt with such, see this page from a neat site called "The Medieval Sourcebook:" http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/clareno-inq.html Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (29 of 36), Read 52 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 10:51 AM Has any kind public servant here sprung for The Key to The Name of the Rose: Including Translations of All Non-English Passages? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0472086219/constantreader Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (30 of 36), Read 46 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sara Sauers (stsauers@att.net) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 01:15 PM Steve, The UI Library has the Key to The Name... and it is listed as "checked in." Let me know if you want it, and I'll check it out for you. (Then you can be the public servant, eh?) Sara
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (31 of 36), Read 45 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Susan Pardue (ezrabird@aol.com) Date: Monday, June 12, 2000 01:20 PM I haven't, but I did look for Naming the Rose at the library this morning. Alas, it has gone missing in action. I doubt it will reappear in time to do me any good in this discussion. Susan, beginning Night in the Fourth Day
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (32 of 36), Read 24 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000 06:22 PM [If you have no interest in the historical setting of this novel, you can save time by not reading this. However, there are certainly no spoilers here as to which monk murdered which.] Given that fact that a monastery murder mystery could theoretically have been set in any year since Christian orders came into existence, Umberto chose a fascinating era as the setting for this one. Far from being the uniform, black hole that we sometimes envision medieval times, there was lots of action. It is addicting to nose around in this. Some trivia for what it’s worth. A little of the theology is interesting in itself but even more so when considered in connection with these various alliances struggling for raw political power—alliances that made no sense theologically but perfect sense politically. (I suppose that we shouldn’t be shocked that the struggle for raw political power makes strange bedfellows in any era. Theology does not stand in the way of the old maxim that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.) The Holy Roman Empire was a religious state, every bit as much as an Islamic state is today. The struggles between the emperors on the one hand and the papacy on the other for politically power ultimately took them both out. Our adversaries at this point are Emperor Louis IV and Pope John XXII. Had either one of these sides clearly won, we would take for granted the religious state under which we would be living today, the Christian equivalent of the Islamic state. Instead, the empire ultimately collapses and nation-states of a type more familiar to us, such as Spain, Portugal, England, and France emerge as the ultimate secular power. It is also as a result of all this that the Papacy loses its claim to ultimate power in secular politics but becomes preeminent in the spiritual realm. This is start of all that anyway. I don’t know whether that was a good dénouement or a bad one. And what a cast of characters! William of Baskerville’s pal, the Franciscan, William of Occam (sometimes Ockham), advanced these premises: * that Christians are entitled to state and defend their opinions in opposition to the views of popes, church councils, etc., even if their opinions are in fact erroneous; * that no part of the Church (e.g. the pope or a Church council) is infallible; * that a pope who tries to impose false teachings upon the Church, or who seriously violates the rights of Church members or others, can be deposed; * that since women as well as men are members of the Church, women should sometimes take part in Church councils; * that the powers of secular governments do not depend on Church approval; * that the rights of unbelievers (for example, any governmental rights they may have, and their property rights) were not affected by the establishment of Christianity; * that kings, emperors and other secular rulers are not 'absolute' but must respect the rights of their subjects; * that a tyrannical ruler may be deposed. I mean, I had no idea! No wonder the guy spent much of his time hiding out. That might as well be John Locke or Thomas Jefferson speaking. Although to be fair, William of Occam did believe there was such a thing a heretic. A heretic, in his view, was one who held incorrect beliefs "pertinaciously," that is, one who was unwilling to change his mind even if shown that his beliefs were inconsistent with the Catholic faith. This Marsilius of Padua is an equally captivating character, too, not to mention Roger Bacon, another Franciscan at the University of Paris who "raved about flying machines" and essentially started the scientific revolution. Around 1278 Pope Nicholas IV imprisoned this other hero of William of Baskerville for ten years. The darned guy was pertinaciously heretical. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (33 of 36), Read 26 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000 07:12 PM Isn't William of Occam the guy who came up with the scientific and philosophical principle of Occam's Razor---don't make matters any more complicated than they need to be to reach the answer. The simplest solution is the best. Ruth
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (34 of 36), Read 25 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 06:32 AM Steve- Thanks for the history lesson. I always find the "what if...had happened" an interesting point of discussion. The truths we hold to be self evident might not have been, had the emperors or the Church won the battle. How frustrating for the "simple" it must have been to decide who the power of the day was. As a result of NOTR, I'll be tracking down more info on Francis Bacon. So much history is taught as "what happened," rather than in context to the times. Until now, I never really understood why Bacon is considered so important.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (35 of 36), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 09:25 AM Yep, that's him, Ruthie. Kay, those remarks about the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy are so general and relate to events that occurred over centuries. I am afraid a real medievalist might consider them worthless. Also--and while several of us are big fans of his--don't concern yourself too much with Francis Bacon, the twentieth century painter. The man in whom you are interested in connection with this book is Roger Bacon. It seems to me that when William of Baskerville pontificates (no pun) on the political and religious situation, he is saying what Eco imagines Occam would say. When he is pontificates about taking the approach of scientific reasoning to crime solving, he says things that Eco imagines Roger Bacon might say. In any event, what led me into all this was my fascination with the lengths to which Eco went in order to achieve verisimilitude in this novel. I wanted to try to determine which of these characters were real historical personalities and which were inventions. While I am still unsure about many of them, I can say that based upon what little I have been able to learn, Eco has seamlessly woven this story into the events of the time. It is difficult to determine precisely what he has invented and what is simply history retold. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (36 of 36), Read 2 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@slip.net) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 12:23 PM Mr. Tidyman is here: Roger Bacon is indeed the Bacon you want for NOTR. But there are two Francis Bacons (1) the painter of the gruesome made manifest, and (2) the rather more important Francis Bacon of 1561-1626, lawyer, courtier, statesman, philosopher, and master of the English tongue. Author of Bacon's Essayes and the Novum Organum in which he presented his scientific method. ANOTHER SUBJECT: If interested in Ockham's ideas about "The Church" and the papacy, look at the review of the book Papal Sin, Structures of Deceit by Gary Wills, NYTBR 6/11. Mr. Wills had donned Ockham's mantle and wears it with panache and care. Pres
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (37 of 40), Read 24 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 01:05 PM Your post on Wills reminded me of one of his previous books Bare Ruined Choirs, which in turn got me wondering: which Shakespearean sonnet has spawned the most book titles: No. 73 has two in one line: the Wills title and Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang. The Chilbained Lawyer
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (38 of 40), Read 22 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 01:24 PM I meant Roger. Francis just popped up. Thanks for clarifying.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (39 of 40), Read 29 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000 01:53 PM I can relate, Kay. Just like sometimes, when I meant to lecture on Francis Bacon the Latter, I called him Roger Bacon. (It wouldn't have been so bad if I'd just called him by the other Francis Bacon's name.) Ruth, who even has occasionally lapsed into saying that Martin Luther King nailed those theses to the church door
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (40 of 40), Read 16 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000 09:22 AM I should have just let it pass, Kay. Believe me, like Ruthie, I am an adept at this. Seems like every time I intend to say Wallace Stegner, Wallace Stevens pops out of my mouth. Identical first names give me more problem than identical last names. Did anyone notice anything in the book that would explain why the Pope took the position that the souls of the dead must await the Last Judgment to encounter God rather than encounter Him immediately after death? I must have missed something. I don't understand what the Pope had to gain by this. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (41 of 47), Read 30 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000 03:40 PM I know in Fourth Day;Sext, it states ..."the souls separated from the body and completely purified( purgatory?)are in heaven." As for papal gain in stating this..could it be a means of control to stop either martyrdom or the willingness of his adversaries to become martyrs for their cause? Just a thought... Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (42 of 47), Read 27 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000 03:49 PM Steve- Can you give me a time/day when this conversation occurred? I vaguely remember it, but would like to reread it before commenting. I had a bit of a time reading and taking in all NOTR had to say. As a result, I know I missed a lot and will need to go over parts as they come up for discussion. I'm not up to a complete second reading at this point, though. My comments below ramble, mainly because there is so much to discuss, and I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts. What was Eco trying to do with NOTR? The murder mystery is secondary and acts as a vehicle for a discussion of medieval church politics and philosophies. Also, the burning of the abbey ties in nicely with the theme of the Apocalypse. Is the whole tale an allegory of some kind? Or is it merely a way to include a history of the Church? What message is he trying to help us understand? Some of the running debates I see are: laughter/comedy, censorship/right to know, responsibility of scholars to the "simple," vow of poverty v. glorifying God with the highest and best, moral decadence that leads to the Apocalypse, nature of books/writing/knowledge, nature of sin. What are others you picked up on? What struck me often in the book was the fact that many of the arguments used to get people to straighten up and fly right can still be found in modern day discussion. Some of the modified 21st century arguments out there: There are "good" books and "bad" books. Creation v. evolution (science, logic). The END will happen at the turning of the millennium. We should be living sober lives, mindful at every turn of the potential and might of God's wrath - no drinking, no smoking, no partying, and above all, no laughter-it invites the Devil. No female preachers in the church. What was your opinion of William? Adso? Are we meant to treat William as we do Sherlock - a kind of super hero, who seems to be all intellect with very little emotion? Does William represent Eco's view on the issues debated or does Eco want us to go a step further and draw our own conclusions, using both Adso and William? How does the last Latin line relate to the title and novel? "yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names" I think Eco is saying, in part, that it is the essence of all that surrounds us at any given moment that endures. Anything built or created by Man is temporary. The beauty of the world and knowledge is in its process of being, not the actual nuts and bolts of everyday life.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (43 of 47), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000 10:11 PM Kay,it occurs toward the end of Sext on the Fourth Day. Actually, I have reread that section and find that it is alleged that John was only "planning to declare that the just will not enjoy the beatific vision until after judgment." The monks are completely puzzled by his motivation, but William offers the theory that John's pride leads him to think he can rearrange this timing business. So I guess that's that. As to these other rather monumental questions you pose, ah. . . .ah. . . .give me some more time to think about them. I will say that in spite of your protests to the contrary, it looks to me as if you are digesting this book pretty well. Others will have some thoughts, although I don't know how many have hung in there through this whole ordeal. I don't know that the murder mystery is necessarily secondary. That was all I followed the first time I read this. It's during the second reading, when one has all that somewhat in hand, that one can concentrate on the historical angle. (No, I am not asking you to do that.) What do I think of William? I found him an extremely appealing character and very real for me. No superman though. Just extremely bright. (He really flounders in that chapter when he is attempting to explain heresy to Adso.) He is a man far ahead of his time in his thinking and must be very careful what he says. While I can't point to what makes me think this, I also firmly believe that William himself had a little fling with a lady earlier in his life. There was just something about the way he discussed Adso's confession with him that convinced me of this. We'll save Adso for later. Too much here already. I will say that the aged Adso's voice leads me to believe that he was a very tired, defeated old man. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (44 of 47), Read 15 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 16, 2000 05:00 AM I agree that William identified with Adso, and strove to reassure him that all was well and quite normal. That was in keeping with William's tolerant view of Mankind. His only steadfast view of things was that things change, and that to be solidly in one camp or another until eternity was asking for trouble. Man cannot always distinguish between "...knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do." William kept an open mind, and would seek the Truth of a given situation, instead of seeking a constant universal Truth, as Adso was seeking. William was comfortable with ambiguity, and yet I think he was one of the most Christian monks around.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (45 of 47), Read 17 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Friday, June 16, 2000 07:24 AM This was the first reading for me, and the mystery was what kept the plot going, so it is what held the most interest. But I think it served the philosophical and historical elements very well. I know very little about Catholic doctrine (then or now) and I’m not a Biblical scholar, though I spent many hours in a southern Methodist church and Sunday School until I got married. I do know that there is no commandment (that I know of) in the Bible that says "Thou shall not laugh" (If there had been, my mother would have found it). I do know that there is one that says "Thou shalt not kill." I have always been absolutely mind-boggled that people (of any belief) could think that it was the thing to do to kill others because they were "heretics." Is there anything in the Bible regarding heresy, or is that something man just made up? I remember Adso and William talking about "degrees" of sin. Murder seems to be a high degree sin, but somehow there was never any discussion about the rightness of whether or not to burn someone at the stake. I suppose that was just a given in those times, but it’s a very strange given. The book served as a lens for me to focus on this strangeness and the surrounding philosophical, political and social intricacies. The labyrinth could be a metaphor for all the confusion and debate about doctrine. William used his logic, and Adso used his dreams and subconscious to come up with a solution to the puzzle, but what was the prize? The end result was that finding the prize destroyed the whole labyrinth and everything in it. So what does that say about trying to find answers? That some answers are better left unfound? That the "purifying fires" must destroy all the old knowledge to make way for new? I hated to see that library burn, didn’t you. It was only in Eco’s mind, but the very thought of all those beautiful books going up in smoke was quite sad. It made me wonder what we lost in the Alexandria fire. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (46 of 47), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Friday, June 16, 2000 07:35 AM The comparison of the loss of this fictional library with the destruction of the library in Alexandria came to my mind, too, Sherry. I suspect that if we could only know what was lost in Alexandria, it would be mind-boggling. Surely, Eco must have had that in mind when he conceived this novel. Somewhere in one of my favorite mags, there is a recent article about that subject and a new library in Alexandria. I will take a look at that. Might be a nice piece of companion reading. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (47 of 47), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 16, 2000 09:07 AM Sherry- You write: The end result was that finding the prize destroyed the whole labyrinth and everything in it. So what does that say about trying to find answers? That some answers are better left unfound? That the "purifying fires" must destroy all the old knowledge to make way for new? Interesting questions. My inclination is to answer that, yes, some things may be better left unfound, but that the process of keeping them unfound can lead to sin, given the nature of Mankind. Also, Man doesn't always have a complete understanding of what he thinks he knows. However, we are curious beings, and are drawn to the unknown. At this point, I think of the study of genetics, and the potential it has to create uncontrollable consequences. I also consider the potential good increased knowledge of DNA can have. Again, as William says, it's knowing what's right in a given situation, and Mankind cannot be counted on to discover that consistently. Hence, the very real, continual threat of an Apocalypse, at least in Man's mind. And yes, I think you're on to something when you say that the "purifying fires" must destroy all the old knowledge to make way for the new. That ties in nicely with Eco's point that Man's knowledge is constantly growing, and in order to progress, we have to let go old theories to make way for new ones. Today's heretics have the potential to be tomorrow's revered scientists. I thought the theme of reverence for books and the knowledge they contain was a fascinating one. Is it possible Eco was making the point that the quest for, and preservation of, knowledge can come into conflict with the seeking of Truth? Perhaps that was another purpose of the fire and another interpretation of the final quote. The burning of the library was hard to take, for me, as well. ,who is still confused, but enjoying the discussion.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (48 of 48), Read 18 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000 01:35 PM I had a little "question and answer" session with my priest today over this book. He said the writers of the New Testament did not dwell on any of Christ's emotions ..that the purpose of the NT was to teach Christian "values" and doctrine, not to center on Jesus as the "man". He also , with all his seminarian training, is unaware of any debate in either the early or modern Church, on the question of Jesus' laughter or lack of written record of laughter...So,for what it is worth,this is the "take" of a Roman Catholic priest, and i thought i would share it with you. Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (49 of 49), Read 8 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 10:25 AM Your discussion of the subject of heretics is apt, Sherry. The auto da fé and the Inquisition seem such remote institutions. They are not, however. I think this phenomenon occurs whenever any group comes to believe that they have a monopoly on Truth. We are more familiar and therefore more comfortable with the idea of ideological heresy rather than religious heresy in this country. McCarthyism was an American Inquisition. The holocaust in Germany was a very real modern Inquisition complete with auto da fé. Certainly, the two sides in the recent wars in El Salvador and Guatemala considered each other ideologically heretical, and therefore a spectrum of brutality was justified in their minds. Perhaps Eco had several objectives. Obviously, he is fascinated with medieval times and used his knowledge to create a seemingly realistic though exotic setting for his murder mystery. He may have also wished to create a popular vehicle for conveying something of what he had learned about that time with a view toward showing that human nature is constant--in many of the ways that Kay has alluded to. Perhaps he wished to shake our complacent belief that we are somehow more civilized than people of other times. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (50 of 50), Read 15 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Karen Mikhail (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 03:45 PM Sherry wrote: I have always been absolutely mind-boggled that people (of any belief) could think that it was the thing to do to kill others because they were "heretics." Is there anything in the Bible regarding heresy, or is that something man just made up? I remember Adso and William talking about "degrees" of sin. Murder seems to be a high degree sin, but somehow there was never any discussion about the rightness of whether or not to burn someone at the stake. There's nothing that I can recall in the Bible that directly addresses heresy. To my mind, heresy has to do with turning against the belief system of a specific religious body, and the Bible isn't focused on one specific church. It's probably not a terribly big leap, however, to go from the unpardonable sin (no longer being able to hear God and not caring that you can't) to heresy. And God can always forgive you for killing someone. I think William does talk about the rightness or wrongness of burning someone at the stake. He has ceased to be an inquisitor because he feels the wrongness of the way his fellow inquisitors conduct themselves. William comes across as enjoying the intellectual process of the hunt for the murderer, but he is uncomfortable with the role of 'inquisitor' being laid on him again. I've only read about 200 pages of this book so far (I'm toward the beginning of the Third Day) and I'm still slogging through it. Life has been interrupting my reading time recently, but hopefully I'll make through in enough time to participate some more in this discussion. Karen
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (51 of 58), Read 16 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Friday, June 23, 2000 10:17 PM The Revelation of Saint John the Divine, a truly weird text, is woven into the plot of this story. I brushed up on my Apocalypse by reading it and stumbled onto the passage to which Jorge refers: Revelation|10:4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. Revelation|10:5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, Revelation|10:6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: Revelation|10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. Revelation|10:8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. Revelation|10:9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. Revelation|10:10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. Revelation|10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (52 of 58), Read 24 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, June 23, 2000 10:36 PM wow..... Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (53 of 58), Read 14 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Sherry Keller (shkell@earthlink.net) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 06:42 AM Well, that makes sense of Jorge's eating the little book. Boy, there is so much meat in this. You could devote a lot of time to it. Thanks, Steve. Sherry
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (54 of 58), Read 7 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 08:29 AM I had a good chuckle over your note this morning, Sherry. Yes, one could spend a lot of time with this book if one were so inclined. There just don't seem to be too many folks around here so inclined. In any event, I got interested in the Apocalypse because William was convinced (wrongly, it turns out) that Revelation was the key to solving the crimes: Because of a remark of Alinardo's, I was convinced the series of crimes followed the sequence of the seven trumpets of the Apocalypse. --Seventh Day, Night (the first one). Apparently, the monks loved to illustrate Revelation, with all its monstrous images and cataclysmic visions. Those things it has in abundance. It is clearly the strangest book in the new testament, and I can only wonder whether St. John wrote it there on the island of Patmos without chemical assistance. Of course, I understand that spiritual rapture can certainly be a substitute for chemicals. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (55 of 58), Read 8 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 08:44 AM Oh, and Sherry, let me backtrack a bit on the things I said in response to your note about the torture and burning of heretics. The motivation appears to be exactly the same as is the case with the modern counterparts to the Inquisition that I mentioned. However, there is one fundamental difference. In the case of the Inquisition, this was all done in the name of Jesus Christ, the personification of Love and all that. The very fundamental hypocrisy of that is what I think is scrambling your brain. I must say that it scrambles my brain, too. It does, that is, until one gets the idea that the Church in that era was not really about religion at all but rather about political and economic power. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (56 of 58), Read 6 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@uswest.net) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 08:58 AM Forgive me for over-posting, but there is one other thing that fascinates me and that is the conclusion William reaches at the end. As I mentioned earlier, in attempting to solve the crimes, William assumed a plot based upon Revelation. This was not the case as it turns out: I behaved stubbornly, pursuing a semblance of order, when I should have known well that there is no order in the universe. There follows shortly: It's hard to accept the idea that there cannot be an order in the universe because it would offend the free will of God and His omnipotence. So the freedom of God is our condemnation, or at least the condemnation of our pride. There then follows this from Adso: I dared, for the first and last time in my life, to express a theological conclusion: "But how can a necessary being exist totally polluted with the possible? What difference is there, then, between God and primigenial chaos? Isn't affirming God's absolute omnipotence and His absolute freedom with regard to His own choices tantamount to demonstrating that God does not exist? --Seventh Day, Night (the second one). Now that is a heckuva question! And I think what we have here is a post-modernist novel that just happens to be set in the early 14th Century. Steve
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (57 of 58), Read 5 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 08:30 AM That certainly clarifies Jorge's perspective. The problem is that when Man takes it upon himself to decide which specific text to censor, he is likely to stumble. We do not have the omniscience required for such decisions. But try telling that to those who are convinced they are right. In his exuberance to do Good, Man often commits Sin. His pride and ego often overtake the Good he set out to do. Is it possible Eco is saying that the potential for Evil is within us all, and that we need to proceed cautiously and humbly? That would seem to fit with William's take on the Inquisition.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (58 of 58), Read 3 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 09:27 AM Kay, would you say that the distance between passion for goodness(God) and passion for evil-doings (Satan) is not that far a chasm to leap? Ive heard it said there are more demons surrounding a convent than a whorehouse... Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (59 of 64), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 12:15 PM BEEJ Can't answer that one. I've never been to a convent. EDD
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (60 of 64), Read 32 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 12:23 PM That's okay Edd. We are in the same boat.I've never been to a whorehouse....:-) Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (61 of 64), Read 25 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 01:47 PM i have a little booklet that explores the 7 levels of faith, titled THE OPEN DOOR. Few of us will ever attain the sixth level. The seventh level is attained only by the greatest saints. Some of the characteristics of this 6th level are global consciousness and a willing to sacrifice one's life for beliefs. it is also the level where people misuse their power for selfish purposes and can do great harm...where temptation for evil is at its greatest. It is also the level of faith theologians believe the Antichrist attained before his fall. So i suppose, perhaps, this is where Jorge was..possibly attained this level and developed a messiah complex..possibly. Would this not explain, somewhat, how he went from one extreme to the other? Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (62 of 64), Read 24 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 02:57 PM Beej- What a question! After brief consideration, I would answer that pure Goodness and pure Evil are at totally opposite ends of a spectrum. The more we lose sight of either end, the closer we come to the middle, making it easier to slip the dividing line either way. I like to think I'll know Evil when I see it or am faced with it, but I may actually be inching my way toward it, thinking I'm moving in the opposite direction. I think that's what happened to Jorge - doing the wrong things for the right reasons. Now that's a scary thought. How do you see the struggle against Evil?
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (63 of 64), Read 28 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 03:44 PM So, Kay, are love and hate at opposite ends of the spectrum, also? Or is indifference the opposite of both of these? are good and evil opposite or is apathy the opposite of both. I simply don't know. What do you think? Beej
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (64 of 64), Read 21 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Kay Dugan (okaychatt@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000 09:55 PM Steve- I'm still pondering your question. However, as I've just returned from a lovely dinner with my fellow CR's and several glasses of wine, I'm not fit to come anything close to a coherent response. I'll try again in the morning.
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (65 of 66), Read 12 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 06:58 AM I've been chugging along here with all of you, but not posting because I hadn't finished the book until this week-end. Did everyone's edition of this book have the Postscript by Eco? I found that it had some interesting insights. He certainly implies that he wanted to weed out those who read this book, starting with his comment about the first 100 pages quoted by someone earlier in this thread. I find it interesting that he can be so cavalier about book sales...or if that's easier to say after it became so popular, was made into a movie, etc. If that actually was his attitude when writing it, I'm impressed. Also, he comments about sometimes inserting more modern thoughts into this period, but then also says that when he's been criticized for that, the cited section turns out to be historically based. This made me wonder about one of my favorite sections of the novel, on pages 201 through 203 in the Harcourt Brace 1980 edition. Sir William is talking about the effect of outcasts on the rest of the body, of the church in this case. St. Francis figures in here. The following are the lines I highlighted (in day-glo yellow even): "The outcast lepers would like to drag everything down in their ruin. And they become all the more evil, the more you cast them out; and the more you depict them as a court of lemures who want your ruin, the more they will be outcast. Saint Francis realized this, and his first decision was to go and live among the lepers. The people of God cannot be changed until the outcasts are restored to its body(emphasis mine)." "But your were speaking of other outcasts; it isn't lepers who form heretical movements." "The flock is like a series of concentric circles, from the broadest range of the flock to its immediate surroundings. The lepers are a sign of exclusion in general. Saint Francis understood that. He didn't want only to help the lepers; if he had, his act would have been reduced to quite a poor and impotent act of charity." Does anyone here know how accurate these kinds of attitudes were as attributed to St.Francis and this period in general? Given what Eco has said in his postscript and his linking of them to St. Francis, I'm hoping he's not giving me 20th century thought planted in an earlier time. I'm following this by reading Paradise Lost with CC. They're dovetailing nicely, but also making me realize how woefully inadequate my knowledge of religious history is. I can usually count on my son who went to a Catholic high school but he's not around much these days. Barb
Topic: THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco (66 of 66), Read 11 times Conf: READING LIST BOOKS From: Patrick Nolan (patrick.nolan@matthewsgroup.com) Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 09:47 AM There are interesting parallels in TNOTR around the two big textual or hermeneutic issues: one, the question of whether comedy is sanctionable (turning on interpretation of Aristotle) and two, the question of church poverty (turning on interpretation of the Gospel on Christ's poverty). As for the Sherlock H./detective motif, it's easy to point to the name Baskerville and the scene in the beginning with the lost horse. (BTW, this motif was better handled in the book than the movie; finding the bathroom is a less fitting challenge for William)

 

 
Photo
Umberto Eco

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com