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The Name of the Rose
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The Book-Club Books > November 2011 - The Name of the Rose

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim And so here we are in November. The year is rapidly drawing to a close. This month we're reading the historical murder mystery The Name of the Rose. I believe some of you have already read it so please feel free to start the discussion rolling along.


Melki | 205 comments This book has been on my "to read" list for years, so I'm happy someone is finally forcing me to read it - even though I'm sure to fail KL's quiz when I'm finished.
Flipping through, I think it looks quite good, though it is something I would want to sit down with for hours at a time, rather than read a little here, a little there.


message 3: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this book, I'm looking forward to see what discussions come out of this book.


Tasha I started it a couple of days early. (It's still October for me) The beginning was a bit tough, but I am really into it now. I joined this group in August, and this is the fisrt BOM that I have not already read. I'm excited about it.


message 5: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Tasha wrote: "I started it a couple of days early. (It's still October for me) The beginning was a bit tough, but I am really into it now. I joined this group in August, and this is the fisrt BOM that I have not..."

I'm glad you are enjoying it :)


Rohan | 32 comments Haven't read it yet, but will definitely rise to the challenge. Only Eco I have read was Foucault's Pendulum, which in retrospect is probably where Dan Brown nicked the loose framework of The Da Vinci Code from. I really loved the early intricacies of the narrative, but was sorely disappointed with how the story eventually petered out at its conclusion. I'm hoping that The Name of the Rose fares better.


The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I have it on Kindle (less than $4 in the US) and I'll start soon (after I'm done reading The List of Seven.

I'm not sure what to expect. I'm going in blind so.


M.L. | 309 comments I'll be re-reading it (interested to see what my own reaction will be this time, particularly to the end). :)


message 9: by Stephen (last edited Nov 01, 2011 09:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen I read this a long time ago but remember it as a memorable and possibly unique crime thriller. The writing is spectacularly good in places. Unlike some of his later novels Eco doesn't over emphasize his vast knowledge with so many obscure references and asides that you are left feeling so totally inadequate that he becomes almost unreadable. Would love to reread but nanowrimo is all consuming at the moment and this book deserves full attention.


Booksy | 96 comments I re-read "The Name of the Rose" and also read "The Key to the Name of the Rose" (Adele J Haft) and it was indeed quite valuable to have brief bio's of most of the historical figures mentioned in the book and also the translation of all paragraphs in Latin. In his interview, Mr Eco admitted that he placed all those Latin passages and words without translation on purpose and unless you are a scholarly linguist it will be hard to get the meaning of those passages precisely. I really enjoyed attempting to translate those myself first and then checking with the translations provided in the "Annotate..." book.
Had a great pleasure reading both books.


message 11: by Carycleo (new)

Carycleo | 28 comments Enjoyed this book a lot back when I read it. Don't plan to re-read it for this. Looking forward to everyone's take on it.


message 12: by Philippa (new) - added it

Philippa | 100 comments This book appeals to me much more than last months. And I fully plan to read it. But I can't quite bring myself to pick it up yet. Not sure why. Think I'm a bit put off by all the comments of how... intense it is. And don't really want to read it in my usual when I can grab ten minutes fashion. I think it might have to wait until a free weekend when I can just sit down and concentrate on it.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I've started this after it being on my "to read" list for too long. Very glad of the motivation of this group or it possibly would have never been read. Can't say I am enjoying it so far, but I will stick with it. Out of curiousity, has anyone seen the movie? I have never seen it as one of my quirks is generally not to see movies if I want to or have read the book.


Melki | 205 comments The movie is currently free on Netflix streaming and though I'm doubting the casting of Sean Connery (Zardoz, anyone?), I'm planning to watch it -- AFTER I read the book.


message 15: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam (aramsamsam) This book has been on my reading list for years, but now I have read 60 pages I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time to read it. If I started 5 years ago, I would not have been able to appreciate the rich style. Ecos trips into Semiotics are really interesting (I am myself a linguist so...).
In addition we are going to read Ecos new book (The Prague Cemetery) at university and I wanted to read the famous "The Name of the Rose" first. So it is really great to have someone make me read it now ;-)


message 16: by M.L. (last edited Nov 03, 2011 04:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

M.L. | 309 comments Stephen wrote: "I read this a long time ago but remember it as a memorable and possibly unique crime thriller. The writing is spectacularly good in places. Unlike some of his later novels Eco doesn't over emphasiz..."

Knowledge Lost has a separate conversation thread for nanowrimo - sounds interesting!


Franky Erica wrote: "I've started this after it being on my "to read" list for too long. Very glad of the motivation of this group or it possibly would have never been read. Can't say I am enjoying it so far, but I wil..."

I was planning on reading and then watching. I watched a few minutes of it on netflix, just to see what it looked like. I've heard the film mainly focuses on the mystery, less on the other aspects of the book. I'm only about 30 pages in to the book, but I sort of see how William is a monkish Sherlock Holmes, the narrator being a novice-like Watson.


Victoria | 107 comments Absolutely LOVE this book! It's an all-time favourite for sure.

So many of my favourite subjects get an airing- medieval history, epistemology, the very nature of books and the written word! I thought it was very clever the way Eco sets up two parallel mysteries- the more straightforward whodunnit that William of Baskerville has to unravel, and the more sly, tricksy literary mystery that the reader gets to unravel.

I know a lot of people hate how postmodern authors can become literary name-droppers, in the way that they sprinkle their texts with veiled references to other books- personally, I love it. It turns reading into a kind of intellectual game, that allows you to unknot layer upon layer of clues and acknowledgments- and there's always more to find. And there are tons in The Name of the Rose- even just starting with the protagonists' name: William of Baskerville is based on a Sherlockean dectective trope, which Eco ackknowledges in the Baskerville link (one of the Sherlock books is called The Hound of the Baskervilles).

I'd love it if everyone else could post some of the cooler inside-jokes, literary clues etc that they find throughout the book. I'm sure there are heaps that I've missed. Two minds (or more), as they say, are better than one!


Booksy | 96 comments Victoria wrote: "Absolutely LOVE this book! It's an all-time favourite for sure.

So many of my favourite subjects get an airing- medieval history, epistemology, the very nature of books and the written word! I t..."


Victoria, I can't agree more with your comments that this book is indeed a quintessence of all intellectual literary puzzles ever written. I am not good at solving these, but I always like trying them and I love reading the solutions as well.


Parsa | 68 comments I have just started it. Latin is proving difficult for me. What can I do abt it?
I tried looking for the key of the name of the rose that Booksy mentioned but couldnt find it.


Booksy | 96 comments Hi Paras, here is this book that I used for all latin translations:

The Key to The Name of the Rose: Including Translations of All Non-English Passages (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)
by Adele J. Haft, Robert J. White


message 22: by Melki (last edited Nov 04, 2011 05:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 205 comments The Key to The Name of the Rose: Including Translations of All Non-English Passages is available on Amazon. It's not cheap, but it may help.

Google translate offers to translate Latin into English for free, though constantly consulting the computer seems rather unhandy to me.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this problem, but I'll think about it tomorrow.


Marlene (marlene1001) | 289 comments Maybe we should open another group where the people who have the key (or people who have latin at school, like me) ca help translate it.

I have not starteted yet, because I have to finish another book first, but I´m really looking forward to reading it.
The guys at my favorite book-shop actually asked me, if I REALLY wanted to read this book, because it´s supposed to be difficult.

Well, doesn´t this sound interesting? ;)


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) Marlene wrote: "The guys at my favorite book-shop actually asked me, if I REALLY wanted to read this book, because it´s supposed to be difficult.

Well, doesn´t this sound interesting? ;)"

Indeed, it does. It's always a bit deflating when your favorite bookseller opines that a book might be considered difficult. *chuckle* Is it a commentary on their ability to handle the book, or a commentary on their perception of their customer's intellect? Not wise, if the latter is the case.

I'm one of those odd ducks that was a student of "The CLASSICS." Seven years of Latin studies. At one time, many years ago, I was recruited by the graduate department of a University known for its classical studies program. I declined. The idea of becoming "Mr. Chips" had a brief appeal. However, I considered it unlikely that I would end up betrothed to Petulia Clark as Peter O'Toole did in the late sixties release of "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."

After all these years, I'm sure I will be scurrying for my Cassell's Latin Dictionary. And the laptop will be close by.

Ah, the joys of a multi-lingual read. I'll be undertaking "Rose" as soon as I complete "Blood Meridian" and "The Complete Maus." After all. This is the 25th Anniversary of the publication of the second volume of Maus. So,a fitting time to pick that one up again.


message 25: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam (aramsamsam) Paras wrote: "I have just started it. Latin is proving difficult for me. What can I do abt it?
I tried looking for the key of the name of the rose that Booksy mentioned but couldnt find it."


In my edition there is a section with translations. As this won't help you, I googled for it and found this. Scroll down and you'll find all latin (and other) phrases translated.


message 26: by Veljko (last edited Nov 04, 2011 05:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Veljko (_vxf_) | 52 comments Umberto Eco is one of my favorite writers - and this is probably his masterpiece - although I did enjoy Baudolino a lot as well.

Anyhow... I am looking forward to re-reading this, and to hear everyone's opinions.

I actually had the pleasure hearing Eco speak about writing this book. His main topic was the 'subconscious' elements readers do not notice, but which make the experience of reading a book feel 'real'. I remember him talking about how he wrote the dialogue for one of the conversations between two characters crossing the inner courtyard of the monastery. He would time his walking around a soccer field to figure how long it would take for characters to cross the monastery's courtyard, then he would recite the dialogue while walking. Finally, he would edit the dialogue so the time it would take the reader to read the passage would approximate the time it would take the characters to walk...

I was a kid and had never thought about writing... but was surprised by the level to attention to a detail few will notice...

EDIT: I didn't sleep much, been up polishing my dissertation... my post is full of mistakes... but I hope you get the point. My apologies.


Jessa (ufeelcrunchy) Ok, so I told a good friend I was reading this book and he said unless I'm a bibliophile I shouldn't even try. I'm maybe 50 pages in and I can tell this will be a difficult read but I am hoping my faith in a good mystery will hold true. Though the Latin is annoying. I'm going back and forth on the internet trying to translate it.

Sorry, this post was part venting at Latin.


Jessa (ufeelcrunchy) Veljko wrote: He would time his walking around a soccer field to figure how long it would take for characters to cross the monastery's courtyard, then he would recite the dialogue while doing. Finally, he would edit dialogue so the time it would take the reader to read the passage would approximate the time it would take the characters to walk .."


Veljko, Thanks for the info, that is actually incredibly interesting and I'm going to try and pay attention as I read.


Veljko (_vxf_) | 52 comments Jessa wrote: "Veljko wrote: He would time his walking around a soccer field to figure how long it would take for characters to cross the monastery's courtyard, then he would recite the dialogue while doing. Fina..."

I am glad you found it useful, despite my very poor explanation. Enjoy your reading!!!


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) EGAD! If this is too much information, somebody STOP ME!

FROM THE INTRODUCTION:

The speaker refers to a work by Jean Mabillon a French Benedictine Monk 1632-1707 whose field of study was palaeography and diplomatics. The first concerns the linguistic elements of usage in a document. Diplomatics concerns determining the authenticity or falseness of a document. The work referred to concerns documents, letters, epitaphs collected by Mabillon while on a trip to Germany. This would be an implication that the document of Adson existed, was collected by Mabillon, but does not establish whether the document was authentic or false.

At the conclusion of the introduction, the speaker quotes Thomas a'Kempis "the great imitator," i.e. he wrote "The Imitation of Christ"--

“In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro" TRANSLATION: "Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book.”


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) BOETHIUS Quoted by Adso, Chapter One, as saying nothing is more fleeting than external form. Boethius 480-524/525AD or CE. Philosopher, Roman Senator, author of "Consolation of Philosophy." Considered an early martyr of the Catholic Church as a result of his execution ordered by Emperor Theodoric of the Western Roman Empire. Sanctified by Catholic Church in 1883.


Booksy | 96 comments I have a piece of advice to all who struggle with the Latin translations. Most of the Latin phrases used in the text are Biblical quotes or the renditions from the Mass. Only a few are closely linked to the narrative and reveal the meaning and in these cases Eco presents the rephrased (in English) version immediately after the Latin part. So, I wouldn't worry too much if you can't guess the meaning, or can't achieve translating those pieces, it won't really obscure the meaning and won't take too much of the pleasure away from reading it.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) "ERIS SACERDOS AETURNUM." William to the Abbot TRANS. "You will be a priest forever." An allusion to Psalm 110:4 which completes with the phrase "in the order of Melchizedek." (mediating between God and mankind.)


Parsa | 68 comments Thanks for helping me out. I definitely don't feel alone now. This book seems interesting and reading a bit of it I know that its going to be a bit challenging but now, thats where the fun lies :D


message 35: by Parsa (last edited Nov 04, 2011 11:39PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Parsa | 68 comments Booksy wrote: "Hi Paras, here is this book that I used for all latin translations:

The Key to The Name of the Rose: Including Translations of All Non-English Passages (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)
by Adele J. Haft, Rob..."


I found this book and it seems it may help if I go through it. I did skip through it and I found many names I knew abt in the historical and literary references part. This just interests me more.


Iselin wrote: "In my edition there is a section with translations. As this won't help you, I googled for it and found this. Scroll down and you'll find all latin (and other) phrases translated. "

Thanks a lot :)


Parsa | 68 comments Booksy wrote: "I have a piece of advice to all who struggle with the Latin translations. Most of the Latin phrases used in the text are Biblical quotes or the renditions from the Mass. Only a few are closely link..."

Now that's a kind of relief. But being the way I am, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the book unless I know the translations. So, I would go through the key and the book together. :)


Victoria | 107 comments Mike, thanks for the translations and tidbits.

For any who have already read TNotR and would like something extra that's very topical, try and dig out a short story by Jorge Louis Borges called the Library of Babylon. It's usually published in either Ficciones or Labyrinths which are collections of Borges stories. In it's own right, a brilliant example of the short story, but also very closely connected to TNotR.

A lot of the ideas that Eco develops around language, meaning, signs/signifiers were first explored by Borges and Eco isn't shy about acknowledging the literary debt he owes.

Keep reading!


Booksy | 96 comments Victoria wrote: "Mike, thanks for the translations and tidbits.

For any who have already read TNotR and would like something extra that's very topical, try and dig out a short story by Jorge Louis Borges called th..."


Thanks a lot for the tip Victoria, I just downloaded the Borges' story you mentioned and will be reading tonight. Thanks


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) Upon Adso's meeting Salvatore:

"si licet magnis componere parva" TRANS. LITERAL: "If one may compare small things with great."

The phrase is found in Virgil's "Georgics" in a passage comparing the work of bees with that of Cyclops. This is a phrase used for making comparisons which might be considered disproportionate.


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) William Baskerville's meeting with Ubertino of Casale:

Ubertino of Casale (1259-1330, approximate) was the author of "Arbor vitae crucifixiae," written after he fell into disfavor with Pope John XX for his attacks on his alleged carnality of the Church. Referring to Ubertino as a Cluniac, may be a bit of an inaccuracy, as they are most commonly associated with English Orders approximately two centuries prior to the time of TNOTR. However, Ubertino was a member of the Fransican Order which strictly interpreted the rules of St. Benedict. Their strict adherence to following the poverty of Christ was one of the main reasons that the Franciscan Order fell into disfavor with John XX.


message 41: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary (marynovik) | 2 comments Wasn't it Pope John XXII, who lived in Avignon? I don't think there was a John XX. I'm actually writing a novel about this time period.

Great discussion so far!

Mary Novik
http://www.marynovik.com


Franky Mike wrote: "William Baskerville's meeting with Ubertino of Casale:

Ubertino of Casale (1259-1330, approximate) was the author of "Arbor vitae crucifixiae," written after he fell into disfavor with Pope John X..."


Thanks for the post, Mike. I just finished that chapter and that gives a little more context to what their discussion is about.

I'm just wondering how many are reading the same edition. I'm reading the Weaver translated edition. Is anyone else reading this one?


Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) Franky, You are most welcome. I'll do my best not to overload with contextual posts. However, there are some very interesting matters to which Eco alludes which I continue to discover as I read the novel. I regret not having read this book before and am so glad that this month's selection has caused me to do so.

Mary, thank you for pointing out my reference to John. He was John XXII. Forgive my mistake. And, yes, he was in Avignon.

The intrigue and machinations of church, state and politics was absolutely astounding.

John would have loved to see the destruction of the Franciscan Order. Ubertino was allied with a faction that believed in the evolution of a church that would go through a number of stages, ultimately resulting in the dissolution of wealth.

I have read some of the Papal Bulls issued concerning restrictions on possessions by the Franciscans in conjunction with my reading of ITNOTR and it is fascinating.


Sonali V Booksy wrote: "I have a piece of advice to all who struggle with the Latin translations. Most of the Latin phrases used in the text are Biblical quotes or the renditions from the Mass. Only a few are closely link..."
True. I dont know Latin but I have read the book twice. I enjoyed it because it told me so much about a world I knew little about; also the mystery was fascinating.I liked Eco's Foucault's Pendulum too, very very much but was totally bored with'Baudolino'.
This discussion thread is extremely enlightening, Thank you all.


Sonali V Veljko wrote: "Umberto Eco is one of my favorite writers - and this is probably his masterpiece - although I did enjoy Baudolino a lot as well.

Anyhow... I am looking forward to re-reading this, and to hear eve..."

Wonderful glimpse you've given me of a great writer.


Sonali V Victoria wrote: "Mike, thanks for the translations and tidbits.

For any who have already read TNotR and would like something extra that's very topical, try and dig out a short story by Jorge Louis Borges called th..."

THere...you've got me.. I wont be able to rest in peace until I've read it. It isnt in the collection The Aleph and certainly not in A universal history of infamy. Have to go to the library.THANKS.


Booksy | 96 comments What really fascinated me in this novel is the 3-level labyrinth:
- Narrative labyrinth (story with a story, book about THE BOOK, book full of allusions and references to a mixture of fictional and historical characters)
- Linguistical labyrinth (word ambiguity, coded texts, cryptic clues)
- Physical labyrinth of the library (clear reference, as Victoria so rightly mentioned, to the original Borges' story "The Library of Babel" - library as "a ubiquitous and lasting system of hexagonal galleries", library that is "unlimited and cyclical")

What is the meaning of the the labyrinth as a metaphor so aptly used by Eco in his book on these three (and I am sure many of you will find more) levels ? What do you all think?
Booksy


message 48: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Fantastic point Booksy, that is probably the best way i've heard the book been described.


Booksy | 96 comments Knowledge Lost wrote: "Fantastic point Booksy, that is probably the best way i've heard the book been described."

Thanks a lot KL for your comment.


Victoria | 107 comments Booksy wrote: "What is the meaning of the the labyrinth as a metaphor so aptly used by Eco in his book on these three (and I am sure many of you will find more) levels ? What do you all think?"

I'm going out on a limb here, as it has been a while since I read TNotR, but from what I know of Eco's works and life, he's very much concerned with the intangibility of meaning and the question of order vs. randomness in the universe.

So in TNotR, I'd guess the labyrinth is set up as a metaphor for these things- and it seems to all link together in a bunch of interconnected ways.

- postmodernists like Eco argue that language is inherently slippery; that the subjective nature of interpretation is such that we can never devine the 'true' meaning of a text

-in this way, all communicated information, novels included, becomes labyrinthine- in that the reader reads a book as one who wanders a maze, always searching for the intent and meaning behind the author's words

-books also function as a labyrinth because of their intertextual nature. Postmodernists generally argue that no book can contain any significant meaning wholly within itself; instead all books depend upon a system of interconnected references, particularly to other books. For example, the way that Eco builds our knowledge of the characters by subtly nudging us towards tropes we already know and recognise - i.e. William--> Sherlock. So in a way, books exist not just as a labyrinth within themselves, but also as a piece in a complicated web of literature- where authors are continually referring to one another's works......

Anyway, I was going to type more and then got utterly twisted around in my own thoughts and lost my train. More food for thought which I'm going to have a think on includes:

-the importance of William's eye glasses. They definitely have the air of a metaphor about them.
-Understanding the library from the outside versus from within
-bibliophagia...


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