Eco, Dickens, who else?

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Tue Feb 11 10:28:28 EST 2003

>>Incidentally, do you know why Eco called it _The Name of the Rose_?
>>It's to stop people forming preconceptions about the book before
>>they've actually read it. If he'd called it, say, _Murder in the
>>Monastery_, everyone would immediately form a mental picture of what
>>the book is like, and a lot of people would avoid it for reasons that
>>didn't actually apply (or read it and then blame the author because it
>>wasn't what they expected). "The Name of the Rose", however, could
>>mean any one of so many different things that preconceptive apparatus
>>is paralysed with indecision, and the reader is forced to take the
>>book on its own merits.
>I think the name of the novel also had a lot to do with the way he 
>was playing with language. In the original Italian there are a lot 
>of puns and plays on words that revolve around the idea of the name 
>of the rose. They didn't make it into the English version, because 
>they naturally enough don't work in English. I think in Italian the 
>title is much less counter-intuitive.

That makes perfect sense. I know I get a little miffed that Eco 
doesn't translate his quotes for those of us who don't speak 15 
languages, but I didn't think he'd be that obtuse.

I will admit that I enjoyed the "hunt" through the Lating though!


Fairy tales are not true--fairy tales are important, and they are not 
true, they are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons 
exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.
G.K. Chesterton

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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