Newswire: R.I.P. Italian author Umberto Eco

BBC News is reporting that Umberto Eco, a prolific author and academic best known for novels focused on introspective conspiracies, both large and small, has died. Eco, who published his seventh novel, the political satire Numero Zero, last year, was 84.

Born and raised in Italy, Eco quickly established a reputation for himself as a theorist in literature and cultural theory, contributing major works to the growing field of semiotics—the study of signs and meaning—throughout the 1970s. In 1980, though, he made the move from literary theorist to literary celebrity, with the publication of his first novel, The Name Of The Rose.

A cross between the detective fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle, the literary labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges, and Eco’s own obsessions with medieval history, the novel—set in an Italian monastery where monks inexplicably begin to die—became an international bestseller. The book was adapted …

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