98 Of The Best Quotes By Umberto Eco
Italian Semiotician, Philosopher
Umberto Eco, an Italian philosopher, literary critic, semiotician and writer of children’s books, essays, fiction and academic texts was among brilliant authors of twentieth century. He was known for captivating use of symbols, puzzles, languages and references. Some his best write-ups relay astounding allusions and narrative inventions. His perspective novel
II Nome Della Rosa is a beautiful amalgam of biblical analysis, fictional semiotics, historical mystery, literary theory and medieval studies. Eco rose to fame with his acclaimed masterpieces like The Island of the Day Before, Foucault’s Pendulum and bestseller The Prague Cemetery. In addition to his rich works of art, he is also known for writing coherent essays based on contemporary culture. All in all his work is a beautiful representation of humor, irony, aesthetics, interpretations and ideas. An expert at literature and philosophy, Eco had a reputation of foremost thinker in academia. His works unveil lies, half-truths, conspiracies and facts, thereby compelling the readers to think beyond their realm. To commemorate the life of Umberto Eco, we have put together some quotes from his books and the man himself. Presenting a collection of Umberto Eco quotes about life, love, history, art, literature etc.
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... To survive, you must tell stories. I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. 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. I love the smell of book ink in the morning. When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything. The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else. People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction. Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big. Then why do you want to know?"
"Because learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do. Thus I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have told us again and again): books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told. All poets write bad poetry. Bad poets publish them, good poets burn them. Love is wiser than wisdom. What is life if not the shadow of a fleeting dream? 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. As the man said, for every complex problem there’s a simple solution, and it’s wrong. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the mountains: you have to learn the rhythm of respiration, acquire the pace; otherwise you stop right away. When you are on the dancefloor, there is nothing to do but dance. Any fact becomes important when it's connected to another. We were clever enough to turn a laundry list into poetry. Where else? I belong to a lost generation and am comfortable only in the company of others who are lost and lonely. Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear.”" - We live for books. A sweet mission in this world dominated by disorder and decay. 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. A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams. True learning must not be content with ideas, which are, in fact, signs, but must discover things in their individual truth. It is necessary to meditate early, and often, on the art of dying to succeed later in doing it properly just once. Show not what has been done, but what can be. How beautiful the world would be if there were a procedure for moving through labyrinths. Each of us is sometimes a cretin, a fool, a moron, or a lunatic. A normal person is just a reasonable mix of these components, these four ideal types. The order that our mind imagines is like a net, or like a ladder, built to attain something. But afterward you must throw the ladder away, because you discover that, even if it was useful, it was meaningless. Yesterday's rose endures in its name, we hold empty names. When the writer (or the artist in general) says he has worked without giving any thought to the rules of the process, he simply means he was working without realizing he knew the rules. A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would have not written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations. Someone said that patriotism is the last refuge of cowards; those without moral principles usually wrap a flag around themselves, and those bastards always talk about the purity of race. I lacked the courage to investigate the weaknesses of the wicked, because I discovered they are the same as the weaknesses of the saintly. I felt like poisoning a monk. How clear everything becomes when you look from the darkness of a dungeon. The author should die once he has finished writing. So as not to trouble the path of the text. But the purpose of a story is to teach and to please at once, and what it teaches is how to recognize the snares of the world. How beautiful was the spectacle of nature not yet touched by
the often perverse wisdom of man! If you want to use television to teach somebody, you must first teach
them how to use television. Love flourishes in expectation. Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity. It was awkward, revisiting a world you have never seen before: like coming home, after a long journey, to someone else’s house. I believe that you can reach the point where there is no longer any difference between developing the habit of pretending to believe and developing the habit of believing. How peaceful life would be without Love, Adso. How Safe. How Tranquil. And how Dull. Since I became a novelist I have discovered that I am biased. Either I think a new novel is worse than mine and I don’t like it, or I suspect it is better than my novels and I don’t like it. You’ll come back
To me . . .
It’s written in the stars, you see,
you’ll come back.
You’ll come back,
it’s a fact
that I am strong because I do
believe in you. A mystic is a hysteric who has met her confessor before her doctor. Listening doesn't mean trying to understand. Anything, however trifling, may be of use one day. What matters is to know something that others don't know you know. I think that at a certain age, say fifteen or sixteen, poetry is like masturbation. But later in life good poets burn their early poetry, and bad poets publish it. Thankfully I gave up rather quickly. I don't know, maybe we're always looking for the right place, maybe it's within reach, but
we don't recognize it. Maybe to recognize it, we have to believe in it. Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth. This, in fact, is the power of the imagination, which, combining the memory of gold with that of the mountain, can compose the idea of a golden mountain. Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear. The real hero is always a hero by mistake. Your masters at Oxford have taught you to idolize reason, drying up the prophetic capacities of your heart! Memory is a stopgap for humans, for whom time flies and what is passed is passed. Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to enquiry
(William of Baskerville) Is it possible to say "It was a beautiful morning at the end of November" without feeling like Snoopy? Translation is the art of failure. There is only one thing that you write for yourself, and that is a shopping list. Libraries are fascinating places; sometimes you feel you are under the canopy of a railway station, and when you read books about exotic places there's a feeling of traveling to distant lands. National identity is the last bastion of the dispossessed. But the meaning of identity is now based on hatred, on hatred for those who are not the same. Not bad, not bad at all," Diotallevi said. "To arrive at the truth through the painstaking reconstruction of a false text. Then we are living in a place abandoned by God," I said, disheartened.
"Have you found any places where God would have felt at home?" William asked me, looking down from his great height. But if there is no cosmic Plan? What a mockery, to live in exile when no one sent you there. Exile from a place, moreover, that does not exist. The list could surely go on, and there is nothing more wonderful than a list, instrument of wondrous hypotyposis. You are always born under the wrong sign, and to live in this world properly you have to rewrite your own horoscope day by day. I seal that
which was not to be said in the tomb that I become. Yes, I know, it's not the truth, but in a great history little truths can be altered so that the greater truth emerges. A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection — not an invitation for hypnosis. But now 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. The belief that time is a linear, directed sequence running from A to B is a modern illusion. In fact, it can also go from B to A, the effect producing the cause. From shit, thus, I extract pure Shinola The beauty of the universe consists not only of unity in variety, but also of variety in unity. I suspect that there is no serious scholar who doesn’t like to watch television. I’m just the only one who confesses For the enemy to be recognized and feared, he has to be in your home or on your doorstep. They dwell in my light, while I dwell in unbearable darkness, the source of that light. But I had also learned that freedom of speech means freedom from rhetoric. The light in her eyes was beyond description, yet it did not instill improper thoughts: it inspired a love tempered by awe, purifying the hearts it inflamed. There was no plot... and I discovered it by mistake. Never affirm, always allude: allusions are made to test the spirit and probe the heart. In the Middle Ages, cathedrals and convents burned like tinder; imagining a medieval story without a fire is like imagining a World War II movie in the Pacific without a fighter plane shot down in flames. Whoever reflects on four things I would be better if he were never born: that which is above, that which is below, that which is before, that which is after. The cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopedia. And so I fell devoutly asleep and slept a long time, because young people seem to need sleep more than the old, who have already slept so much and are preparing to sleep for all eternity. ...we can only add to the world, where we believe it ends, more parts similar to those we already know (an expanse made again and always of water and land, stars and skies). The book is like the wheel - once invented, it cannot be bettered.
I was in a maze. No matter which way I turned, it was the wrong way.
He is always on the brink of suicide... because he seeks salvation through the routine formulas suggested to him by the society in which he lives.
... we read novels because they give us the comfortable sensation of living in worlds where the notion of truth is indisputable, while the actual world seems to be a more treacherous place.
The fine thing about pacts with the devil is that when you sign them you are well aware of their conditions. Otherwise, why would you be recompensed with hell?
That day, I began to be incredulous. Or, rather, I regretted having been credulous. I regretted having allowed myself to be borne away by a passion of the mind. Such is credulity.
Man's principle trait is a readiness to believe anything. Otherwise, how could the Church have survived for almost two thousand years in the absense of universal gullibility? There are only four questions of importance in life: What is sacred, of what is the spirit made, what is worth living for, and what is worth dying for. The answer to all of them is the same. Only LOVE.