It is entirely possible, that you, who are reading these lines, are far more advanced in the field of narratology and semiotics. If that is the case, you won't find much material here, because I'm guessing that you already know what you're looking for. For others, few words should be said.
Almost thirty years ago, when "Name of the rose" appeared for the first time in world markets, nobody could predict it's success. Complex story that read as a crime fiction, as a mere whodunit', but which held, in it's numerous layers, numerous worlds for competent reader to discover pushed it's author on the top of world's intellectuals. To distant observer, like myself, planetary success didn't seem to trouble Eco at all. He didn't comment on global politics, didn't meddle into affairs of state. All that he did was research and publishing of world of literature, aesthetics, beauty and lot's of other themes that may seem like a waist of time. And indeed, if Eco's impact, influence and success in scientific world should be measured with people who unlocked the human genome, one is tempted to say that his entire life was committed to futile things that interest few people borne and raised in Western tradition. Yet, that kind of reasoning would entirely wrong.
Eco's thoughts on literature, interpretation and signs influenced many reader out there who suddenly found themselves into the forest-world. Where everything was clear before, now lay a jumble of codes that needed to be deciphered and adapted into some kind of functional system. Where plain story existed, now appeared infinite vectors of interpretation, and reader gradually learned that there isn't one, correct way to move trough the forest-world. Eventually, one learned to look upon the world with different set of eyes.
This book here was written in late stages of Eco's thought, and it tends to show this what I'm talking about. It explains the "Name of the rose". Not the way that it should be read. Rather, it explains the idea behind it, it shows how, and why it was put together. And, if you until now understood literature as a mere fiction, something to pass time with, it'll open your eyes. Now, there are hundreds of books, in every language, on literary theory and much of them are dry pieces of work written for advanced reader who dedicated much of his life to this kind of research. This book isn't like that. On every page, you can almost feel Eco's enthusiasm with literature, his joy of reading. Maybe most important thing is that he doesn't put himself on an elevated position, preaching to the masses from it. He, like Socrates, takes his reader into a dialogue, with a single goal in mind - to discover undiscovered possibilities of fiction, to better understand the way every text (not just a literary one) is constructed, hoping in the end, to broad both minds that are set upon this trip. It seems to me that that is the way to write about literature, and I can but say that reading of this book was a great experience even though I was familiar with much of it from other sources. In any way, this is one of the better books on the subject, and it would be mistake to simply pass by it. As someone else said: "Stay awhile, and listen..."