Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compared to the film, 31 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Name Of The Rose (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
The film of this book (starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater) was first rate - as if someone had taken a camera into the 14th century. The film followed the story faithfully.
If you enjoyed the setting and contexts of the story in their own right, as well as the mystery and the plot, then you have to read the book. Umberto Eco is a true philologist, and his use of language and turn of phrase are at times witty, at times poetic. The conundrum of the library is much more detailed in the book, but it also contains a great deal of information about the ecclesiastical politics and scheming of those times which motivate the principal protagonists. You will also learn a good deal about the heretical movements of the middle ages.
If you enjoyed the film, reading the book will give you the detailed insights into the motives and backgrounds of the characters, and into the historical setting of the story - all things which could not sensibly be incorporated into the film.
It is a very good book, but not exactly light reading, there are a few long lists in the book (common in mediaeval literature, but not in modern literature and they can be boring), and us ordinary mortals will undoubtedly have occaisional recourse to a dictionary.
If you wondered, at the end of the film, _really_ why Bro. Remiggio was burned at the stake, then the book will explain all.
In summary - as well as being the first rate mystery you know from the film, 'The Name of the Rose' is a fascinating, and erudite exposition of mediaeval political and ecclesiastical intrigue and turmoil.
Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus.
(And if you are the sort of person who is automatically inclined to try and translate that, then you will definitely enjoy the book.)
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