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Umberto Eco Quotes (75 Quotes)


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  • From shit, thus, I extract pure Shinola
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

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

  • He had prepared his death much earlier, in his imagination, unaware that his imagination, more creative than he, was planning the reality of that death.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

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

  • How clear everything becomes when you look from the darkness of a dungeon.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")


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

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

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

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

  • 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")

  • 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....
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

  • 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")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")

  • 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")

  • 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.
    (Umberto Eco, "Foucault's Pendulum")


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