Umberto Eco

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Umberto Eco

feb 21, 2016, 3:03 pm

I don't suppose we have much of a chance of getting our hands on Eco's library, but here's a video of Eco walking through his library. Gorgeous.

feb 21, 2016, 3:55 pm

Man already lived in heaven!

And he had a whole another house filled with books too.

feb 21, 2016, 3:59 pm

Just 20,000—"for emergencies." :)

feb 21, 2016, 4:00 pm

I know how he felt. :)

feb 21, 2016, 5:02 pm

If I had 50,000 books split between two homes, the book I wanted would always be in the other place.

Redigerat: feb 21, 2016, 6:42 pm

I think it's 50k in one place, 20k in the other. Same problem, though.

FWIW, I sort of did the "second library" when my family moved to Turkey. I brought a small, working library—mostly history, art and archaeology to do with Turkey, but including some general reference too. It was weirdly satisfying to assemble it.

feb 21, 2016, 7:39 pm

Oh my! Be still my heart.

feb 22, 2016, 10:54 am

I mean there's no way there *won't* be a catalog of Eco's library at some point, right? I know the universe is unjust but it can't be THAT bad.

feb 22, 2016, 11:11 am

>8 amandafrench: Ugh, one hopes that's true, but I've seen waaaaay too many cases of libraries disappearing into the ether to trust it ...

feb 22, 2016, 11:19 am

I'd be curious to know what Eco uses currently to catalogue. Card files? Digital? Personal cipher?

feb 22, 2016, 11:55 am

The problem with big or specialty libraries is literally, institutions don't want them, even from famous people. They take an immense about of space to store, not to mention the sheer cost of the time and personnel it takes to catalog them.

I talked to Margot Adler about my puzzlement about what to do with my husband's library and she told me that she still had her grandfather, Alfred Adler's library, because she couldn't find anyone who would take it. (No, I don't know if it was ever cataloged, and since Margot has passed away herself, it's probably a lost opportunity.)

feb 23, 2016, 12:00 pm

Eco likely just kept it mostly in his head ...

feb 23, 2016, 12:16 pm

>12 benjclark: I think that's right. I read an interview of his lately in which he said he stopped his secretary making a catalogue. It forced him to remember and rediscover his collection:

When my secretary wanted to catalogue them, I asked her not to. My interests change constantly, and so does my library ... Besides, even without a catalogue, I'm forced to remember my books. I have a hallway for literature that's 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do.

Interview link.

feb 23, 2016, 1:23 pm

A great quote. It does feel good to encounter one's books, even when not actually reading them.

feb 23, 2016, 1:26 pm

>13 BuiltByBooks: I have a hallway for literature that's 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do.

I totally get that.

feb 23, 2016, 1:36 pm

70 meters? Just the hallway? That's crazy! I don't believe it. How big is this house, anyway?

feb 23, 2016, 1:52 pm

The video looks like it, no?

feb 23, 2016, 2:24 pm

Maybe it's a long AND winding hallway.

feb 23, 2016, 2:26 pm

I hope his library remains in place and that his ghost continues to walk up and down its 70m hallway and feel good when it does.

In the best of all possible worlds, his home becomes a public library and memorial where his voice can be heard reading out the titles of his collection in dolce rumbly Italian.

feb 23, 2016, 2:46 pm

>17 timspalding:, >18 LolaWalser:

Judging from the video, the hallway does wind and there are lots of shelves in a large room. I'm thinking "70 meters of bookshelves", which is still crazy, but less so. I was envisioning 70 meters of straight hallway.

Redigerat: feb 23, 2016, 8:18 pm

>20 lilithcat:

I'm not sure any house in Italy has a 70-meter straight shot. :)

feb 23, 2016, 9:25 pm

>21 timspalding:

Well, there is the Vasari Corridor.

feb 25, 2016, 9:07 pm

>22 lilithcat:

But that connects two palaces and is outside. Can we count it? Even inside the Uffizi Gallery, the long hall really isn't inside a "house."

mar 16, 2016, 2:01 pm

70 meters of shelving maybe?

Redigerat: mar 23, 2021, 10:33 am

I didn’t see if anyone had posted this. It contains a link to browse Eco’s books i.e. books he has written.

mar 22, 2021, 2:27 pm

>25 varielle: - I think the link is just to available books by Eco for sale by that site, no? (Unless I missed another link!)

mar 22, 2021, 2:29 pm

>25 varielle:

It contains a link to browse Eco’s books

An infinitesimal number! Only 78 out of thousands.

mar 23, 2021, 10:32 am

>26 JBD1: I’ll go back to clarify.

nov 3, 2021, 2:07 pm

Umberto Eco had a great answer to that question the non-book people ask when they see your collection — "Have you read all of these books?"

His reply: "Some of them twice."