Editor's Pick

Umberto Eco Ten Brilliant Quotes To Live By

By on
Umberto Eco

The widely-celebrated author, philosopher, literary critic and essayist, Umberto Eco, dies at 84. His most revered work is the 1980 medieval mystery, The Name of The Rose. The author, who had been battling with cancer, passed away Friday night.

The Guardian writes that Eco was born in Alessandria, Piedmont in Italy and went to Salesian School. Medieval philosophy and literature were the subjects of interest to him and went on to study the disciplines at the University of Turin in the 1950?s. In 1992-1993, he became the Norton professor at Harvard from and taught Semiotics at Bologna University.

Matteo Renzi, the prime minister of Italy, led ?tributes to the literary legend and told local media, ?He was an outstanding example of a European intellectual, a single intelligence with an untiring ability to anticipate the future. It?s a huge loss for culture, which will miss his writing and his voice, sharp and vivid thought and his humanity.?

In celebration of Eco?s wondrous life and achievements, here are ten of his most brilliant quotes (via goodreads) from his various literary, academic and philosophical works.

?To survive, you must tell stories.?

From The Island of the Day Before

?When men stop believing in God, it isn’t that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything.?

– Umberto Eco

?I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.?

From Foucault’s Pendulum

?Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big.?

– Umberto Eco

?What is love? There is nothing in the world, neither man nor Devil nor any thing, that I hold as suspect as love, for it penetrates the soul more than any other thing. Nothing exists that so fills and binds the heart as love does. Therefore, unless you have those weapons that subdue it, the soul plunges through love into an immense abyss.?

From The Name of the Rose

?I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly”. At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly it is no longer possible to talk innocently, he will nevertheless say what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her in an age of lost innocence.?

– Umberto Eco

?Monsters exist because they are part of the divine plan, and in the horrible features of those same monsters the power of the creator is revealed.?

From The Name of the Rose

?Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means…?

From The Name of the Rose

?Daytime sleep is like the sin of the flesh; the more you have the more you want, and yet you feel unhappy, sated and unsated at the same time.?

From The Name of the Rose

?What is life if not the shadow of a fleeting dream??

From Baudolino

About the author

To Top