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Umberto Eco facts for kids

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Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco 04.jpg
Umberto Eco in 2005.
Born (1932-01-05)5 January 1932
Died 19 February 2016(2016-02-19) (aged 84)
Milan, Italy
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
The "open work" (opera aperta), the "intention of the reader" ("intentio lectoris"), the "limits" of interpretation
Umberto Eco signature.svg

Umberto Eco (January 5, 1932 – February 19, 2016) was an Italian writer and professor of medieval history in Bologna.

Eco was born in 1932 in northern Italy. As a student, he studied philosophy, history, literature, and educational sciences. He finished his studies in 1954 with a doctoral thesis about Thomas Aquinas. In 1962, he married.

His career as a book writer began with The Name of the Rose in 1980, after he already written many academic papers.


Eco was born on January 5, 1932 in Alessandria. His family had 13 sons. He studied philosophy and humanities at the University of Turin. He received a Ph.D. there.

Eco worked as a professor in different places. Starting in 1971, he held the chair of semiotics at the University of Bologna. At a university, a "chair" is the highest rank a professor can earn. He was also given honorary degrees by thirty different universities.

He had been named satrap of pataphysics for his humourous works. One of his most important books is How to Travel with a Salmon.

He was a member of UNESCO's Council of Sages. In 2000, he received the Princess of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanities.

Eco worked in the mass media as well, creating cultural programs. His interests were the Middle Ages, languages, and the classics. He was also an expert on James Bond.

On February 19, 2016, Eco died at his home in Milan, Italy, of pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

More famous works


  • Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose, 1980) - A historical novel set in the Middle Ages. This novel made Eco famous after it was turned into a best-selling movie.
  • Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum, 1988) - Three workers at a publishing house are trapped in their own fiction.
  • L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before, 1994) - A nobleman from the 17th century gets trapped on a yacht and wonders about how time is passing.
  • Baudolino (2000) - An emperor mistakes a young peasant for his own child. This is a picaresque novel (a novel whose main character is a dishonest person or a criminal. This person tells their story in bits and pieces).
  • La Misteriosa Fiamma della Regina Loana (The Mysterious Flame of the Queen Loana, 2004) - A man who loses his memory tries get it back. This novel is set in the times of Eco's youth.

Other works

  • Opera Aperta
  • Minimal Diary
  • Kant and the Ornithorhynchus
  • Semiotics and philosophy of the language
  • The firm
  • Art and Beauty in the Medieval Aesthetic
  • The Limits of Interpretation
  • Six Walks for the Narrative Forests
  • Lector in fabula
  • Apocalyptics and Integrates
  • On Literature
  • Searching the Perfect Language
  • History of Beauty
  • On Ugliness
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