Umberto Eco Quotes (75 Quotes)


    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?

    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?

    I believe all sin, love, glory are this: when you slide down the knotted sheets, escaping from Gestapo headquarters, and she hugs you, there, suspended, and she whispers that she's always dreamed of you. The rest is just sex, copulation, the perpetuation of the vile species.

    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.

    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.


    I didn't know how to define it -- hermetic skepticism? liturgical cynicism? -- this higher disbelief that led him to acknowledge the dignity of all the superstitions he scorned.

    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.

    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.

    I should be at peace. I have understood. Don't some say that peace comes when you understand? I have understood. I should be at peace. Who said that peace derives from the contemplation of order, order understood, enjoyed, realized without residuum, in joy and truimph, the end of effort? All is clear, limpid; the eye rests on the whole and on the parts and sees how the parts have conspired to make the whole; it perceives the center where the lymph flows, the breath, the root of the whys....

    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...


    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.

    I was becoming addicted, Diotallevi was becoming corrupted, Belbo was becoming converted. But all of us were slowly losing that intellectual light that allows you always to tell the similar from the identical, the metaphorical from the real.

    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.



    Jacopo Belbo didn't understand that he had had his moment and that it would have to be enough for him, for all his life. Not recognizing it, he spent the rest of his days seeking something else, until he damned himself.

    I did not know then what Brother William was seeking, and to tell the truth, I still do not know today, and I presume he himself did not know, moved as he was solely by the desire for truth, and by the suspicion - which I could see he always harbored - that the truth was not what was appearing to him at any given moment.

    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.

    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.

    The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.

    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.

    But this lump does not absolve me, because I got it through heedlessness, not though courage. I run my tongue over my lip and what do I do? I write. But bad literature brings no redemption.

    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.


    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?

    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.

    What did I really think fifteen years ago? A nonbeliever, I felt guilty in the midst of all those believers. And since it seemed to me that they were in the right, I decided to believe, as you might decide to take an aspirin: It can't hurt and you might get better.

    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.



    More Umberto Eco Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Truth - World - God - Time - Facts - Books - Love - Sense & Perception - Man - Success - Sign & Symbol - Imagination & Visualization - Reasoning - Fear - Power - Contemplation - Heaven - Body - Life - View All Umberto Eco Quotations

    More Umberto Eco Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Foucault's Pendulum
    - The Name of the Rose

    Related Authors


    V. S. Naipaul - Umberto Eco - Thomas Wolfe - Thomas Hardy - Sidney Sheldon - Pearl S. Buck - Maxim Gorky - Katherine Dunn - J. D. Salinger - Alexander Solzehnitsyn


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