Riposa In Pace, Umberto Eco
“I believe that what we become depends on what our
fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t
trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
― Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
There was a time when if you asked me to name my favorite novelist I would have said without hesitation —Umberto Eco. Eco was an intellectual, one of the literati, whose prose was illuminating, inspiring, and altogether brilliant in every way.
I discovered Eco when the rest of the English speaking world did, in 1983 with the release of The Name of the Rose. As much a philosophical treatise as a detective novel, Eco opened my eyes to what literature could be.
As eye-opening as The Name of the Rose was, however, it was his next masterpiece, Foucault’s Pendulum, that simply staggered me. It was, in my occult starved mind, an extension of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy, mining similar territories by exploring the myriad worlds of global esoteric conspiracies.
In 1990, when I bought the hardcover, I was already entrenched in that world. I was submerged in the writings that related to the Knights Templar, Gnostics, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Free-Masons, the Passover Plot and other such conspiracies, all tied up with ancient astronaut theories, Atlantis and other lost civilizations, and more.
I had cloaked myself in Crowley and donned Fort’s hat, all while traversing a rabbit hole dug by Leary.
I was practically a character straight out of Eco’s novel, and I reveled in the masterful way he twisted it all into this magnificent narrative.
Umberto Eco was one of my literary heroes. His writings have inspired me since I was 17 year old, which admittedly seems like a lifetime ago to me now.
Eco has left us, at the ripe age of 84 years. It still seems too soon.
Godspeed, Umberto Eco, ci mancherai.