Umberto Eco

Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist

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

Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco in 2005.
Born(1932-01-05)5 January 1932
Died19 February 2016(2016-02-19) (aged 84)[1]
Milan, Italy
Era20th / 21st-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
SchoolContinental philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
The "open work" (opera aperta), the "intention of the reader" ("intentio lectoris"), the "limits" of interpretation

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 an author began with The Name of the Rose in 1980, after he had 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 humorous 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.[2] 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.[2]

More famous works




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


  1. "È morto lo scrittore Umberto Eco" [The writer Umberto Eco is dead]. Corriere Della Sera Online (in Italian). 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Umberto Eco, Italian author of 'The Name of the Rose,' dies at 84". Reuters. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016.

Other websites