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The Name Of The Rose (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Feb 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (5 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099466031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099466031
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The late medieval world, teetering on the edge of discoveries and ideas that will hurl it into one more recognisably like ours...evoked with a force and wit that are breathtaking" (Financial Times)

"A novel of sunning intelligence, linguistic richness, thematic complexity" (Il Giorno)

"This novel belongs with Voltaire' philosophical tales-in the entertaining guise of an erudite fiction story, it is also a vibrant plea for freedom, moderation and wisdom" (L'Express)

"A brilliant deconstruction of the traditional crime novel" (Iain Rankin Mail on Sunday)

"Whether you’re into Sherlock Holmes, Montaillou, Borges, the nouvelle critique, the Rule of St. Benedict, metaphysics, library design, or The Thing from the Crypt, you’ll love it. Who can that miss out?" (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The ground-breaking first novel from Umberto Eco – a murder mystery, an enthralling chronicle of the Middle Ages, a piece of biblical analysis and a stunning popular and critical success all at once.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My favourite Eco novel and one of my all-time favourite books. I keep returning to this informed and wonderfully crafted story time and time again. It _is_ very dense but Eco's narrative style is so smooth and captivating that it's not at all intimidating.
Just like 'Foucault's Pendulum' with all its Hebrew, mysticism and Kabballah (which I love), if you don't like the incidental stuff (like the Latin) in Name of the Rose then just plough through it - and then savour the richness of the characterisation and the clever and meticulously dove-tailed intricacies of the plot which is unravelled at a perfect pace before you.
The basic story is pure Conan Doyle - with the aptly named main Holmes-esque character William of Baskerville being one of the most wonderful characters of any book I've read (on a par with John Le Carre's Barley Scott Blair - coincidentally both characters being played by Sean Connery in the movie versions of their respective books). Baskerville makes the same observations and inferences as the Victorian detective and even says, "elementary" as a playful reference to his fictional mentor (Eco has that sense of fun - like concluding that an encoded scrap of paper thought to hold the secrets to an ancient secret world order of Templars (in Foucault's Pendulum) was actually just a shopping list).
The other characters at the Monastery are utterly vivid, disturbing and grotesque - straight out of an Hieronymus Bosch painting. I really can't rate this book highly enough. Eco needn't be hard work, he does try and be clever (which, let's face it, he is.....very, very clever) but there's no need to get bogged down by the peripheral stuff and commentary if that's not your thing. If it is your thing then this novel will become one of the most cherished and well-thumbed items in your book case - just don't lick your finger when turning the pages.......(you'll need to read the book to understand that last comment).
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By A Customer on 10 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
People will probably either love or hate this book. Those expecting a straight forward medieval 'whodunnit' in the tradition of Ellis Peters might be in for a little surprize, as Umberto Eco adds a great deal of background information (history, theology, linguistics) to his murder mystery. For Adso, the narrator of the work, there is much more to discover than just the identity of the murderer.
I would also like to reassure readers, who might think that knowledge of Latin is essential to understanding and enjoying this work. It is not. A good grasp of Latin will add to the enjoyment, no doubt, but the casual reader can just skip through the quotations. What is given in Latin is background information, also making the work more authentic. However, nothing relevant to the actual plot is hidden from the reader who only knows vernacular languages.
All in all a gripping read, which will change the reader's perception of libraries for ever!
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Format: Paperback
The first time I tried to read this book as a 19 year old student desperately trying to impress my peers I abandoned it after less than a hundred pages as I found just too hard going. Several years later and at the insistence of several friends I tried again, this time determined to see it through to the end. It was, and remains, a revelation.

First of all, dispel any thoughts of the rather tame and dreary film that cam out in the 80s as it just did not do justice to this remarkable novel. Yes, it is frighteningly dark and sinister but there's a real warmth and kindly wisdom about Willaim of Baskerville and an endearing naivety from his young charge, Adso, to help the reader through the very grimmest of the plot developments.

While the setting provides a suitably unsettling backdrop to the grisly goings on, the heart of this book is in it's characters from the pious abbott, the disturbing Salvatore, the sinister Jorge and the downright terrifying Bernardo Gui of the dreaded Inquisition, all of whom are fleshed out with their own stories. Adso asks he questions the reader wants answered in a Dr Watson type way, while sleuthy William of Baskerville ( a none too subtle tip of the deerstalker hat to Arthur Conan Doyle by the author) provides the answers... and answers them with riddles.

The Name Of The Rose sheds a glimemr of light on a disturbing period of European history when plague and famine were a constant concern and religious fanatacism was the real power governing people's lives. While set several centuries ago, the theme of dogmatic zealots throwing their weight around to the peril of ordinary people is all too familiar in today's troubled times and modern day parallels are, sadly, all too easy to draw.
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Format: Paperback
Eco purports to be presenting a now-lost mediaeval manuscript. His reconstruction is indeed convincing; many of the topoi and stylistic manners of mediaeval literature are deployed as one would find in a real work from the fourteenth century (and some, such as the interpolation of lengthy detailings of tiny items at crucial points in the action, are just as annoying as in genuine mediaeval literature). It is in the dialogue that the work shows itself to be clearly distinct from works of the C14th; but this is central to the modern novel, and Eco's combination of the two forms is very interesting. He brings to life many historical figures of whom we know almost nothing apart from the works of theology, philosophy, literature that they left behind: although some of Eco's reconstructions are individualistic, it must be said. Certainly, far more can be gained from this work with even a small amount of knowledge of the history that is played out in the background - the early chapters of J.R.H. Moorman's 'History of the Franciscan Order' come to mind; and for anyone who knows nothing of the mediaeval world, R.W.Southern's 'Making of the Middle Ages' - it's small, very cheap and brilliant.
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