Umberto Eco’s first novel, an international sensation and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix Médicis Étranger awards
The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”
“Like the labyrinthine library at its heart, this brilliant novel has many cunning passages and secret chambers . . . Fascinating . . . ingenious . . . dazzling.” – Newsweek
More by Umberto EcoSee more
A cosmopolitan curmudgeon the Los Angeles Times called “the Andy Rooney of academia”—known for both nonfiction and novels that have become blockbuster New York Times bestsellers—Umberto Eco takes readers on “a delightful romp through the absurdities of modern life” (Publishers Weekly) as he journeys around the world and into his own wildly adventurous mind.
From the mundane details of getting around on Amtrak or in the back of a cab, to reflections on computer jargon and soccer fans, to more important issues like the effects of mass media and consumer civilization—not to mention the challenges of trying to refrigerate an expensive piece of fish at an English hotel—this renowned writer, semiotician, and philosopher provides “an uncanny combination of the profound and the profane” (San Francisco Chronicle).
“Eco entertains with his clever reflections and with his unique persona.” —Kirkus Reviews
Translated from the Italian by William Weaver
By the time Umberto Eco published his best-selling novel The Name of the Rose, he was one of Italy's most celebrated intellectuals, a distinguished academic and the author of influential works on semiotics. Some years before that, in 1977, Eco published a little book for his students, How to Write a Thesis, in which he offered useful advice on all the steps involved in researching and writing a thesis—from choosing a topic to organizing a work schedule to writing the final draft. Now in its twenty-third edition in Italy and translated into seventeen languages, How to Write a Thesis has become a classic. Remarkably, this is its first, long overdue publication in English.
Eco's approach is anything but dry and academic. He not only offers practical advice but also considers larger questions about the value of the thesis-writing exercise. How to Write a Thesis is unlike any other writing manual. It reads like a novel. It is opinionated. It is frequently irreverent, sometimes polemical, and often hilarious. Eco advises students how to avoid “thesis neurosis” and he answers the important question “Must You Read Books?” He reminds students “You are not Proust” and “Write everything that comes into your head, but only in the first draft.” Of course, there was no Internet in 1977, but Eco's index card research system offers important lessons about critical thinking and information curating for students of today who may be burdened by Big Data.
How to Write a Thesis belongs on the bookshelves of students, teachers, writers, and Eco fans everywhere. Already a classic, it would fit nicely between two other classics: Strunk and White and The Name of the Rose.
The Definition and Purpose of a Thesis • Choosing the Topic • Conducting Research • The Work Plan and the Index Cards • Writing the Thesis • The Final Draft