Thursday, January 05, 2012

Best-selling writer Umberto Eco celebrates 80 years

Italian author Umberto Eco, turning 80 today, can boast decades of literary success, but he got a late start in life as a novelist.

Many will remember him as having penned the book The Name of the Rose; perhaps even more people were gripped by the film, starring Sean Connery. Both narratives unlock medieval history through fast-paced, intricately-plotted storytelling and literary somersaulting referencing other world-class scribes, such as Jorge Luis Borges, and detective protagonists like Sherlock Holmes. The book, released in 1980, became a best seller, turning over millions of copies around the world and catapulting Umberto Eco to literary fame.

"Since I'm a book person, I write about books," Eco told German weekly Die Zeit.

That book, "The Name of the Rose," was the writer's first novel and came relatively late in life - at nearly age 50. Yet it likely couldn't have been written - or at least not in that way - had Eco not made an impressive academic career for himself beforehand.

Click here to read this article from Deutsche Welle