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Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose” Quotes (19 Quotes)


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  • On sober reflection, I find few reasons for publishing my Italian version of an obscure, neo-Gothic French version of a seventeenth century Latin edition of a work written in Latin by a German Monk toward the end of the fourteenth century...First of all, what style should I employ?
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • The faith a movement proclaims doesn't count: what counts is the hope it offers. All heresies are the banner of a reality, an exclusion. Scratch the heresy and you will find the leper. Every battle against heresy wants only this: to keep the leper as he is.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • The list could surely go on, and there is nothing more wonderful than a list, instrument of wondrous hypotyposis.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • The monkish vows keep us far from that sink of vice that is the female body, but often they bring us close to other errors. Can I finally hide from myself the fact that even today my old age is still stirred by the noonday demon when my eyes, in choir, happen to linger on the beardless face of a novice, pure and fresh as a maiden's?
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")


  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • The print does not always have the same shape as the body that impressed it, and it doesn't always derive from the pressure of a body. At times it reproduces the impression a body has left in our mind: it is the print of an idea.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • A monk should surely love his books with humility, wishing their good and not the glory of his own curiosity; but what the temptation of adultery is for laymen and the yearning for riches is for secular ecclesiastics, the seduction of knowledge is for monks.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • True learning must not be content with ideas, which are, in fact, signs, but must discover things in their individual truth.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • After so many years even the fire of passion dies, and with it what was believed the light of the truth. Who of us is able to say now whether Hector or Achilles was right, Agamemnon or Priam, when they fought over the beauty of a woman who is now dust and ashes?
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • We stopped to browse in the cases, and now that William - with his new glasses on his nose - could linger and read the books, at every title he discovered he let out exclamations of happiness, either because he knew the work, or because he had been seeking it for a long time, or finally because he had never heard it mentioned and was highly excited and titillated. In short, for him every book was like a fabulous animal that he was meeting in a strange land.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")

  • And when someone suggests you believe in a proposition, you must first examine it to see whether it is acceptable, because our reason was created by God, and whatever pleases our reason can but please divine reason, of which, for that matter, we know only what we infer from the processes of our own reason by analogy and often by negation.
    (Umberto Eco, "The Name of the Rose")


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