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The Name of the Rose: including the Author's Postscript (1980)

av Umberto Eco

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8,131121812 (4.13)7
“A brilliantly conceived adventure into another time” (San Francisco Chronicle) by critically acclaimed author Umberto Eco. nbsp; The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns to the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, and the empirical insights of Roger Bacon to find the killer. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey (“where the most interesting things happen at night”) armed with a wry sense of humor and a ferocious curiosity.… (mer)

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The Name of the Rose (Harvest in Translation) by Umberto Eco (1994)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
Where to begin?

I found _The Name of the Rose_ to be a wonderful book for many reasons. First, it is a book about *books*, written by an author who loves *books* and who loves *reading* them (something which people acquainted with Eco’s philosophical and semiological work will already know). It was also written by an author who believes in his reader’s ability to *read,* and it is written in such a way that it is hard not to want to actively engage with it: it is a thrilling, exciting detective story combined with a treasure of erudition, which makes you heart beat faster at the same time as it makes your brain work harder.

I have to admit being very impressed by people who enjoyed this book while not being budding medievalists, given how grounded it is in its historical and cultural context. (I read this book just after having completed a course on medieval political theory, which included the work of Marsilius of Padua and the poverty controversy between the Franciscan order and Pope John XXII – some parts of the novel therefore reminded me of some freshly written papers.) The overarching ‘themes’ of the book – reason, truth, faith, fanaticism, knowledge and its transmission – are nevertheless universal and timeless enough not to be bound to the spiritual and temporal debates of the 14th century.

Besides the rich historical context in which it is imbedded, the book possesses the qualities to make it truly and purely enjoyable. Faithful to its Holmesian inspiration, the reader follows the story through the eyes of Adso of Melk, a young Benedictine novice and the perfect narrator because he, like the reader, discovers the secrets of the abbey step by step. William of Baskerville is the kind of character one immediately falls in love with: clever but wise, deeply humane and sensitive, humble (although at times arrogant), very funny, a beacon of reason and a harbinger of the ‘experimental method’ (before it became narrow-minded and blind to its own defects because of its many triumphs).

I unfortunately only read a French translation of the original text, but from what I can gather, it is beautifully written. Anyone who ever read a medieval text will recognize its style which, blended with so many different influences that are fun to pick up along the way, makes _The Name of the Rose_ such a unique, masterful work. ( )
2 rösta lochinb | Jun 3, 2021 |
This was a challenging book, and the author knew it. In the post-script, he wrote, “My friends and editors suggested I abbreviate the first hundred pages, which they found very difficult and demanding. Without thinking twice, I refused, because, as I insisted, if somebody wanted to enter the abbey and live there for seven days, he had to accept the abbey’s own pace. If he could not, he would never manage to read the whole book. Therefore those first hundred pages are like a penance or initiation, and if someone does not like them, so much the worse for him. He can stay at the foot of the mountain.”

There was a lot of untranslated Latin, constant references to Medieval Literature, and language that is difficult to read. There was also a thoughtful examination of monastic life and an interesting murder mystery buried in there.

I've been in the habit of listing all the new words I encountered in a book for a while, and this one is the longest such list that I can recall:
abbatial - of or relating to an abbey, abbot, or abbess
acanthus - a shrub with bold flower spikes and decorative leaves, or the depiction of such on columns
ascesis - the practice of severe self-discipline
adumbrate - to indicate faintly, to outline
aedicula - a small shrine, the diminutive of the Latin aedes (a temple building).
aenigmate - of, from, or concerning an enigma
Aereopagite - in ancient Greece, a member of the judicial/religious council that met the hill Aereopagus.
apse - a large semicurcular or polygonal recess in a church, typically at the Eastern end and containing an altar.
amanuensis - a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.
ambulant - (of an ill person) able to walk around
amphisbenae - a mythological serpent with a head at both ends
ampoule - a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample, usually a solid or liquid
anagoge - a spiritual or mystical interpretation of a word or passage, especially in a sacred text, in contrast to a literal or moral interpretation
apposite - apt in the circumstances or in relation to something
Arimaspi - a tribe of one-eyed men who warred with griffons
armillary sphere - a model of the celestial globe constructed from rings and hoops representing the equator and tropics
arsenacho - arsenic
balneary - A bathing room
benighted - In a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance
betony - A Eurasian plant with purple flowers
blancmage - a sweet opaque gelatinous dessert made with cornstarch and milk
blemmyae - a nomadic Nubian tribal kingdom that existed from at least 600 BC to the 8th century AD, in mythology they were said to have no head and a face on their chest.
borage - A European herbaceous plant with bright blue flowers
breviary - a book containing the daily prayers, songs, and readings for a church service
brume - Mist or fog
buboes - A swollen inflamed lymph node in the armpit or groin
cappadocians - A native or inhabitant of the ancient region of Cappadocia in central Asia Minor
cardoons - an edible thistle
catafalque - A decorated wooden framework supporting the coffin of a person lying in state.
catarrh - excessive discharge of mucus in the nose or throat
cenacle - a group of people such as a discussion group or literary clique
Cenocephali - Many-headed
cenocroca - Many-mouthed
cento - a literary work made up of quotations from other authors
chasuble (cuirass) - An ornate sleeveless outer vestment worn by a Catholic priest
cachinnation - a loud laugh
chryselephantine - overlaid with gold and ivory
chrysoprase - An apple-green gemstone consisting of a variety of chalcedony that contains nickel
cicatrizant - a scar healed over a wound.
cicatrize - to heal by scar formation.
circumvolutions - a winding movement
codicil - An addition or supplement that explains, modifies, or revokes a will.
colloquy - A conversation
compositive - made of a composite
concause - something that causes an event to occur simultaneously with itself.
concinnity - The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.
concupiscent - lusty
consentient - in agreement
consistory - the council of cardinals
cortège - a solmen procession, especially for a funeral
corymbs - A flower cluster whose lower stalks are proportionally longer so the flowers form a flat or slightly convex head
cruet - A small container or set of containers for condiments at the dinner table, or for Holy Water or wine in a church
cthonian - Subterranian dweller
cthonic - Subterranian
cynophales - (cynocephalus) A man with the head of a dog.
cystus - (cistus) a flower, commonly called rockrose
dacians - people from a part of what is now Southern Germany that was called "Dacia"
decretal - as a noun, a papal decree concerning a point of canon law.
dipsases - a variety of colorful non-venemous snake
diptych - a painting, especially an altarpiece, on two hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book.
disiecta - things which have been dispersed or disected
dittany - a flowering shrub
dragopod - a being with dragon-like legs
ebullient - usually means cheerful, but sometimes means boiling
embrasures - a small opening in a parapet of a fortified building, splayed on the inside.
encephalus - the brain
enthymeme - an argument in which one premise is not explicitly stated.
exempla - a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point.
flavial - golden or blonde
fluxions - another term for flux
fraticello - a diminutive term for a young monk
fraxinella - a flowering herb
fulminate - to issue or pronounce with vehement denunciation, condemnation, or the like.
gentian - a flowering shrub
glabrous - (chiefly of the skin or a leaf) free from hair or down; smooth.
glycyrrhiza - the plant whose root makes the licorice flavor
hebdomadary - a member of a church or monastery appointed for one week to sing the chapter Mass and lead in the recitation of the breviary.
hebetude - lethargy
hellebore - a plant of the buttercup family with clusters of flowers
heresiarch - a leader of a heretical sect
hoopoes - any Old World bird of the family Upupidae, especially Upupa epops, of Europe, having an erectile, fanlike crest.
hypnale - a type of viper with an upturned snout
hypotyposis - A vivid, picturesque description of scenes or events.
iaculi - From Latin, things that have been thrown
incipit - the opening words of a text, manuscript, early printed book, or chanted liturgical text.
inveigh - speak or write about (something) with great hostility.
jamb - a side post or surface of a doorway, window, or fireplace.
jocose - playful (jocular)
jollity - cheerful activity or the quality of cheerfulness
juridical - relating to judicial proceedings and the administration of the law.
lavobo - the ritual washing of the celebrant's hands at the offertory of the Mass, or the trough where this takes place.
leucrota - a mythological dog/lion hybrid that can imitate a human voice
liquiescent - becoming or apt to become liquid.
loquacity - talkativeness
lupinus - a flowering plant with edible seeds and beans
meed - a deserved share or reward.
mendicant - given to begging or a beggar
Minorite - a member of the Franciscan Friars Minor
monstrance - the vessel used in Roman Catholic churches for the more convenient exhibition of some object of piety, such as the consecrated Eucharistic host during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
mumia - a bituminous medicine from Persia
murex - a predatory tropical marine mollusk, the shell of which bears spines and forms a long narrow canal extending downward from the aperture.
neumae - plainsong notation signs
olieribus - an herb referenced in "The Book of Secrets" by Albertus Magnus with supposed magical properties. No modern plant of this name exists.
paragrams - a type of verbal play consisting of the alteration of a letter or a series of letters in a word.
paranders - a beast mentioned by Pliny the elder that can can conceal itself by taking on the appearance of its surroundings. It is colored like a bear, but is the size of an ox and has long hair. It has the head of a stag with branching horns, and has cloven hoofs.
pard - leopard
Penitenziagrate - "Do Penance" in the Italian language, but also a priest charged with certain aspects of the administration of the sacrament of penance
penumbra - the partially shaded outer region of the shadow cast by an opaque object.
perspecacious - having a ready insight into and understanding of things.
pestiferous - harboring infection and disease.
Phryggians - People from Phrygia, a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey
polycaudate - multiple tails
prebend - the portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church formerly granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend.
presters - A meteor or exhalation formerly supposed to be thrown from the clouds with such violence that by collision it is set on fire. One of the veins of the neck when swollen with anger or other excitement.
preterition/paralepsis - the action of passing over or disregarding a matter, especially the rhetorical technique of making summary mention of something by professing to omit it.
primigenial - primitive
privet - a flowering plant
pulsive - impelling
quodlibetical - a humorous composition consisting of two or more independent and harmonically complementary melodies, usually quotations of well-known tunes, played or sung together, usually to different texts, in a polyphonic arrangement.
ragout - a highly seasoned dish of meat cut into small pieces and stewed with vegetables.
ramify - form branches or offshoots; spread or branch out.
responsory - an anthem said or sung by a soloist and choir after a lesson.
resupine - lying on the back
rhizome - Subterranean stem of a plant, also called a rootstock
rubato - the temporary disregarding of strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace.
sanative - healing
sardonyx - red onyx
scansion - the method or practice of determining and (usually) graphically representing the metrical pattern of a line of verse.
scapular - garment that monks wear on their torso over their other clothes (hanging from their shoulders)
sciopods - mythological human creatures with a single, large foot
scitales - a legendary serpent that beguiles victims with beautiful patterns on its back
sextary - An ancient Roman liquid and dry measure, about equal to an English pint
sorrel - a perennial herb
spectafici - a mythical snake that looks like a fig
stramonium - a plant also called Devil's snare or jimsonweed
sybaritic - fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent.
tare - a flowering plant
tatterdemalions - ragged or disreputable in appearance
tetramorphic -having four differing elements
theophanic - having the appearance of God
thurible - a censer (a container for burning incense)
traganth - a natural gum obtained from the dried sap of several species of Middle Eastern legumes
turpitude - depravity
tympanum - eardrum
valerian - a plant that typically bears clusters of small pink or white flowers, or a sedative drug obtained from the root of the common valerian
verbena - an herbaceous garden ornamental plant with bright flowers
versicle - a short sentence said or sung by the minister in a church service, to which the congregation gives a response
viscid - glutinous, sticky
vituperate - blame or insult (someone) in strong or violent language
Simoniach - someone who buys or sells ecclesiastical privileges such as pardons or benefices
( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
It's been a while since I first read The Name of the Rose -- probably 6 or 7 years. I might have mentioned on here in the past that I lost a small set of my favorite books, and my copy was among them. Anyhow.

Superficially, The Name of the Rose is pretty simple: William of Baskerville (hint hint) and his apprentice monk, Adso, arrive at a remote Italian abbey to prepare for an important meeting between church leaders, only to discover a series of murders based on the seven seals of the Book of Revelation has begun, and seems to be centered around the immense, forbidden library of the monastery.

Is TNOTR a good mystery? Yes. I wouldn't go so far as to say "you can read it for the mystery OR you can read it for...the everything else", but on rereading it (knowing the ending) I'd say Eco plays pretty fair with the clues given, despite a final twist that takes a hard turn away from these things

The real star of the show, however, is what I already called "the everything else": a deep dive into the politics of the medieval Catholic church, logic, religion (and heresy), knowledge, and more.

I feel a little funny giving this five stars in the same way that I felt funny giving Little, Big five stars in that I don't think I completely grasped everything that was going on in the story (this is a book to be reread) BUT: what I did grasp is fantastic. The Name of the Rose is full of the thrill of the hunt, deep contemplation of big questions, and the bittersweet quality of memory. If you have the time to dedicate, I would say it's more than worth it. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
4 stars

Although I dislike murder mystery stories overall, I initially thought that a murder mystery set in a monastery would be an atmospheric and comfortable read. It fulfilled that expectation, more or less, but I couldn’t get into the theological debates much, on account of me not being a god-loving Christian and all. Overall, the plot is engaging, the prose is very descriptive and even humorous, for instance, when a group of monks did not agree about whether Christ espoused poverty or not, and started pulling each other’s beards.
I recommend you read it if you enjoy theological discussion on sin and virtue, or you would like a mystery in a non-standard setting.
P.S. The untranslated parts were novel, but a little pretentious and quite annoying to follow, as I had to read translations on a website every time they came up. ( )
  Firons2 | Jan 31, 2021 |
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Naturally, A Manuscript

On August 16, 1968, I was handed a book written by a certain Abbé Vallet, Le Manuscrit de Dom Adson de Melk, traduit en français d'après l'édition de Dom J. Mabillon (Aux Presses de l'Abbaye de la Source, Paris, 1842). Supplemented by historical information that was actually quite scant, the book claimed to reproduce faithfully a fourteenth-century manuscript that, in its turn, had been found in the monastery of Melk by the great eighteenth-century man of learning, to whom we owe so much information about the history of the Benedictine order. The scholarly discovery (I mean mine, the third in chronological order) entertained me while I was in Prague, waiting for a dear friend. Six days later Soviet troops invaded that unhappy city. I managed, not without adventure, to reach the Austrian border at Linz, and from there I journeyed to Vienna, where I met my beloved, and together we sailed up the Danube.
Adso's manuscript is divided into seven days, and each day into periods corresponding to the liturgical hours. The subtitles, in the third person, were probably added by Vallet. But since they are helpful in orienting the reader, and since this usage is also not unknown to much of the vernacular literature of the period, I did not feel it necessary to eliminate them.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was beginning with God and the duty of every faithful monk would be to repeat every day with chanting humility the one never-changing event whose incontrovertible truth can be asserted. But we see now through a glass darkly, and the truth, before it is revealed to all, face to face, we see in fragments (alas, how illegible) in the error of the world, so we must spell out its faithful signals even when they seem obscure to us and as if amalgamated with a will wholly bent on evil.
First Day

In which the foot of the abbey is reached, and
William demonstrates his great acumen

It was a beautiful morning at the end of November. During the night it had snowed, but only a little, and the earth was covered with a cool blanket no more than three fingers high. In the darkness, immediately after lauds, we heard Mass in a village in the valley. Then we set off toward the mountain, as the sun first appeared.
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Wikipedia på engelska (3)

“A brilliantly conceived adventure into another time” (San Francisco Chronicle) by critically acclaimed author Umberto Eco. nbsp; The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns to the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, and the empirical insights of Roger Bacon to find the killer. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey (“where the most interesting things happen at night”) armed with a wry sense of humor and a ferocious curiosity.

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