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Umberto Eco

5 January 1932 February 19, Alessandria, Milan 2016



The son of a hardware store owner, he received his baccalaureate at liceo classico Giovanni Plana "from Alexandria to his hometown. Among his classmates, accordionist Gianni Coscia, with whom he wrote magazine shows. In his youth he was active in the GIAC (the then youth branch of Catholic action) and in the early 1950 was called among national leaders of the student movement of the AC (Catholic Association, current progenitor of MSAC ).


In 1954 he abandons the task into controversy with Luigi Gedda, during his university studies on Thomas Aquinas, he ceased to believe in God and left the Catholic Church has a degree in philosophy in 1954 at the University of Turin with Luigi Pareyson with thesis on the aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas (Chair Augusto Guzzo) began) to become interested in philosophy and medieval culture, field of investigation never abandoned, even if you subsequently studied semiotics in contemporary popular culture and the critical investigation on literary and artistic experiment. In 1956 he published his first book, an extension of his thesis entitled the aesthetic problem in St. Thomas. In 1954 he won a competition at Rai to commentator and new officials. With Eco vie come even Furio Colombo Gianni Vattimo, the three left the broadcaster by the end of the 1950 .


In the next contest entered Emanuele Milan, Fabiano Fabiani Angelo Guglielmi. The winners of the first competitions were later labeled "Corsairs" because it followed a training course directed by Mariama Gal and the intentions of the leader Filiberto Guala, renew programs. With other subsequent inputs, including Gianni Serra, Emilio Garroni, and Louis Silor, innovated the cultural environment of television, still very much tied to personalities from EIAR, later regarded as the true promoters of centrality of Rai in Italian culture system.From work experience in Rai, Umberto Eco had friendships with members of Group ¹ 63, Echo drew inspiration for many writings, including the famous 1961 article Phenomenology of Mike Buongiorno ².


At the end of the years ' 50, Echo began to be interested in the influence of the mass media in popular culture, on which he published articles in various newspapers and magazines, then largely converged in Minimum diary (1963) and apocalyptic and integrated, which had a new edition in 1977. 

In 1967 he played in New York the seminar for a semiological guerrilla, later published in il Home Costume (1973) and frequently cited in discussions of the counterculture and the resistance to the power of the media:


Significant attention to the correlation between dictatorship and mass culture talking fascism Lord chapter of the essay Five moral writings where identified recurring features, over time, the so-called eternal fascism, or"Ur-fascism": the cult of action for action, the disagreement as betrayal, fear of differences, to appeal to the middle classes whippings, the obsession of conspiracy, machismo, "populism, qualitative television and Internet" and other yet; they and their combinations, the second Echo, you may also want to "unmask" the forms of fascism which reproduce always "around the world".


In 1961 he began his academic career as lecturer in several universities in Italy: Turin, Milan, Florence, Bologna where he obtained the Chair of Semiotics in 1975 became professor at the University of Bologna wasDirector of the Institute of Communication performance of DAMSFinally and became President of the school of Humanities that coordinates the activities of bolognesi from the Humanities doctorates.

Over the years he has taught at several universities:


Visiting Professor at New York University, Northwestern University, Columbia University, Yale University, Harvard University, University of California-San Diego, Cambridge University, Oxford University, University of Sào Paulo and Rio de Janiero, La Plata, and Buenos Aires, Colleèges de France, Ecole Normale Supèriure.


In 1968 he published his first book of semiotic theory, structure absent, followed the fundamental Treaty of General semiotics, and articles for the encyclopedia Einaudi, then reunited in semiotics and the philosophy of language.


In 1971 he founded Versus, Quaderni di studi semiotici, one of the leading international journals of semiotics, remaining editor in Chief, and member of the Scientific Committee until his death. It's also been Secretary, Vice President, and the 1994 Honorary President of IASS/AIS ( International Association for Semiotic and Studies ). 

He was invited to give the prestigious conferences (Cambridge, 1990), Norton (University of Horvad, 1993), 5 (University of Toronto, 1998), Weindefeld (Oxford, 2002) and Richard Ellmann (Emory University) 2008.


He collaborated with the Italian weekly L'Espresso, with the book The mine bag, and with specialized international magazines in semiotics, it has also been an active contributor to the series "Do Europe" directed Jacques Le Goff with studying the quest Perfect language in European cultureHe translated the exercises in style by Raymond Queneau and Sylvie by Gèrard de Neval both published by Einaudi Editore.


He collaborated with musicians Luciano Berio and Sylvano Bussotti. Its debates from the ironic tone, with Luciano Nanni, Omar Calabrese, Paolo Fabbri UgoVolli, Francesco Leonetti, Nanni Balestrini, Guido Almansi, Achille Bonito Oliva, contributed to the history of Italian intellectuals. Umberto Eco wrote prefaces for books by Hugo Pratt, Charles Monroe Schulz, Jules Feiffer, in 1980 he made his debut in fiction. His first novel, the name of the rose, found a great success both at the criticism from the public, so as to become an international bestseller translated into 47 languages and sold thirty million copies. In 1988 she published her second novel, Foucault's pendulum, satire of real fact or legendary paranoid interpretation of history and of the syndromes of the plot. This criticism of uncontrolled interpretation resumes in theoretical works on the reception (the limits of interpretation). Subsequent novels are the island of the day before (1994), Baudolino (2000), the mysterious flame of Queen Loana (2004), the cemetery of Prague (2010) and Number Zeror 2015), all published in Italian by Bompiani.



In 2012 was published a revised version of his first novel The name of the rose, with a final note with the same echo that, keeping style and narrative structure, intervened to remove repetitions and errors, modify the system of Latin quotations and the description of the face of the librarian to remove a reference. Many works were dedicated to the theories of narrative and literature:


1976/ The Superman of mass

1979/ Lector in fabula 

1994/ Six walks in the fictional Woods 

2002/ On literature 

2003/ Say almost the same thing



It was also a precursor and popularizer of the application of technology to writing, together with the appointment of "guest curator" (Guest Curator) of the Louvre, where in November he organized a series of cultural events is released by Bompiani Vertigo's list, published in fourteen countries around the world.

In 2011 Bompiani, he published a collection titled Build the enemy, whose first essay touches on topics already contained in the cemetery of Prague, collecting occasional essays ranging in various interests the author, like the one for literary scholarship and the nineteenth century feuilleton. 

In his novels, Eco tells stories real history or legends that have characters like historical figures or invented. Inserts in his philosophical debates about the existence of emptiness, access works of God or the nature of the universe.



ECHO is drawn to themes rather mysterious and obscure ( the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, and the history of the Knights Templar ), doing numerous nods to the mysteries of ancient and modern.


Talking the island of the day before humanity and symbolized by Castaway Roberto de la Grive, seeking an island outside time and space.


In Baudolino creates a medieval character, without getting leaked misleading nature or not of the protagonist, who travels in search of a paradise on Earth. Talking the mysterious flame of Queen Loana reflects on the strength and the very essence of remembrance; in this case aimed at episode occurred in the 20th century.The cemetery of Prague focuses on the nature of the plot and especially the history of the Jewish people. His latest novel, number Zero, taking up themes always dear to the author dwells upon the recent Italian history, telling true events, but reinterpreted through key complottistica. In 1971 he was among the signatories on the 757 case Pinelli and later of voluntary disclosure of solidarity in Struggle, in which some 50 signatories expressed solidarity with some military and newspaper directors, under investigation for incitement tocommit a crime. 

The signatories to the judiciary saying autodenunciavano to share the content of the article.However, the intense criticism of Eco-terrorism and the various projects of armed struggle are contained in a series of articles written in the weekly L'espresso and La Repubblica, especially at the time of the Moro case. Indeed the weapon that has characterized the political engagement of Echo has become the critical analysis of political speeches and mass communications. This commitment is synthesized in the metaphor of the semiological guerrilla where claims that it is so important to change the content of the messages to the source but try to animate their analysis where they arrive. In this sense the semiological guerrilla warfare is a form of social criticism through education.


Since 2002 participates in the activities of the Association freedom and justice, which is one of the founders and sponsors, participating actively through its cultural initiatives Italian political debate. His book on the Shrimp contains criticisms of what he dfinisce Berlusconi's populism, the Bush policy, the so-called clash between ethnic and religious groups. In 2011, during a press conference at the Jerusalem book fair sets off a political controversy his response to an Italian journalist who asked him if share the comparison between Berlusconi and Mubarak:


The comparison could be made with Hitler: he also came to power with free elections.

The same Echo from the columns of L'Espresso, will deny this statement clarifying the circumstances of his reply.


Umberto Eco has received 40 honorary degrees from European and American universities, such as the 2014, which he was awarded the Marista University de Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. In June 2015 on the occasion of communication degree conferred, University of Turin, Umberto Eco has released strict reviews on the web's social which he said, pressed any idiot to stand on the same level as an award winner Nobel, statements which aroused much controversy.


Umberto Eco dies at his home in Milan on 19 February 2016 due to pancreatic cancer.




1956/ The aesthetic problem in St ThomasTorino, Edizioni di Filosofia

1970/ Thel aesthetic problem of St Thomas Aquinas, Milano, Bompiani

1958/ Philosophers in freedom, as DedalusTurin, Taylor, then in the second lowest diary.

1959 / Development of the medieval aesthetic, in Moments and issues of history of aesthetics, the classical to Baroque, Since à Milan, Marzorati, art and medieval beauty in aesthetic, Milano, Bompiani

1987/ Figurative Story of inventions. Chipped Flint from spaceflight, edited by G.B. Zaki, Milano, Bompiani,

Open work. Uncertainty in contemporary form and poetic, Milano, Bompiani, 1962.1967, on the basis of and. French 1965-1971 – 1976

1963-1975 / Fenomenologia di Mike BongiornoDario Minino, Mondadori, Milano

1964 – 1977/ Apocalyptic and integrated, Milano, Bompiani

1965/ The case Bond, edited by e with Oreste del Buono, Milano, Bompiani

1966/ The poetics of Joyce. The "Summa" Finnegans Wake ", Milano, Bompiani

1967/ Notes for a semiology of Visual Communications, Milano, Bompiani, 1967/

1967/ Self-portrait of Italy, curated by Giulio Carlo Argan, Guido Piovene, Luigi Chiarini, Vittorio Gregotti, Milano, Bompiani.

1968-1980/ The structure is absent, Milano, Bompiani

1968/ The definition of artMilano, Mursia

1969/ Art as a profession, a cura di Milano, Bompiani

1969/ The sign systems and Soviet structuralism, edited by Remo Faccani, Milano, Bompiani

1969/ Art as a profession, Bompiani

1969/ The sign systems and Soviet structuralism, edited by Remo Faccani, Milan: Bompiani

1969/ The cultural industries, Bompiani

1971/ The content forms, Milano, Bompiani

1971/ Mao's comics, edited by Jean Chesneaux and Gino Nebiolo, Bari, Laterza

1971/ One hundred years later. The return of the plot, Cesare Sughi, Milano, Bompiani

1972/ Documents on the new middle ages, with Francesco Alberoni, Furio Colombo, Giuseppe Sacco, Milano, Bompiani

1972/ Aesthetics and information theory, Milano, Bompiani

1972/ The vine leaves liars, investigation Books above suspicion: elementary school texts, curated by Marisa Bonazzi, Rimini, Guaraldi

1973/ The Sign, Milan, Mondadori, Milano

1973/ The costume at home. Evidence and mysteries of Italian ideology, Milano, Bompiani

1973/ Lièbana Beatus To Beatus Miniature De Fernando I Y SanchaMilan, Franco Mario Ricci

1973/ Eugenio Carmi. A landscape painting, Milan, Prearo

1975/ Treaty of General semiotics, Milano, Bompiani

1976/ The Superman. Studies on the popular novel, Rome, Guild writers

1976/ Stars & stars. The Milky murmured, illustrations by Philippe Druillet, Conegliano Treviso, Qudragono books

1976/ History of a revolution ever existed. The experiment. Clipboard service opinions

1977/ From the outskirts of the Empire, Milano, Bompiani

1977/ How to write a thesis, Milano, Bompiani

1979/ Carolina Invernizio, Matilde Serao, Liala with other Firenze, La nuova Italy



Group 63 literary movement that was constituted in Palermo in October 1963 after a conference held at Solunto by some young intellectuals strongly critical of literary still tied to traditional types of years fifty. Luigi Nono was to suggest the group model 47 cultural movement born in Munich in 1947. They were part of the Group poets, writers, scholars, lovers of desire to experiment with new forms of expression, breaking with traditional patterns. Referring to the avant-garde of the early 20th century, 63 group referred to the ideas of Marxism and the theory of structuralism. Without rules defined, gave rise to works of absolute freedom of content, without a precise plot, sometimes marked by militant social commitment, but that in any case challenged and rejected the typical forms of neo-realist novel and traditional poetry, pursuing an experimental research of linguistic forms and content ignored by the general public, the group attracted critical environments-literary interest also for the controversy that aroused strongly criticizing authors at that time already anointed by fame such as Carlo Cassola, Giorgio Bassani, Vasco Pratolini ironically defined as "Branch" with reference to Ross, author of romance novels. 63 Group had the merit to propose and attempt an overhaul in the panorama of Italian literature, but rather closed her aristocratic detachment from common feeling and complexity of communication codes made it an elitist movement, accused of cerebral eroticism.In addition, some accusations against the Conservatives of literature, then by the time reconsidered, were amplified by newspapers and by the same opponents.


Members of the Group 63


Alberto Arbasino, Luciano Anceschi, Nanni Balestrini, Renato Barilli, Achille Bonito Oliva, Giorgio Celli, Furio Colombo, Corrado Costa, Fausto Curi, Oreste Del Buono, Roberto Di Marco, Umberto Eco, Enrico Filippini, Alfredo Giuliani, Alberto Gozzi, Angelo Guglielmi, Patrizia Vicinelli, Germano Lombardi, Giorgio Manganelli, Giulia Niccolai, Elio Pagliarani, Renato Pedio, Michele Perriera, Lamberto Pignotti, Antonio Porta, Edoardo Sanguineti, Giuliano Scabia, Adriano Spatola, Aldo Tagliaferri, Gian Pio Torricelli, Sebastiano Vassals, Nanni Cagnone, Gianni Celati, Alice Ceresa, Giordano Falzoni, Luigi Goiters, Francesco Leonetti, Luigi Malerba, Marina Mizzau, Rossana Ombres, Nico Orengo, Amelia Rosselli, Gaetano Testa, Carla Vasio and Cesare Vivaldi.


The group split up in 1969, gave birth to the magazines Malebolge, Fifteen and grammar, but also influenced the choices of contemporary editorial series, as materials of Feltrinelli or later as somehow literary research by Einaudi.




1963/ Nanni Balestrini and Alfredo Giuliani, 63 Group the new literaturePalermo

1965/  # Balestrini, The experimental novel. Palermo, Feltrinelli

2003/ Torino, Testo & immagine

1992/ Lucio Glasses, literature and chaos, Milano, Mursia

Renato Barilli, The Italian neovanguardia: from the birth of the "Valli" at the end of "Fifteen", Bologna: Il Mulino, 1995, new editions Lecce, Manni 2007

1996/ Fabio Gambaro, invitation to know the neovanguardia, Milano, Mursia

AA. V.v.,63 Group forty years later: proceedings of the Conference in Bologna, Pendragon

2007/ Experimental and avant-garde Novels in the late twentieth century Italian, Bologna, Il Mulino

Fifteen, a magazine and the sixty-eight, a cura di Nanni Balestrini, with an essay by Andrea Cortellessa, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2008

Eugene Gaines, Malebolge, The other magazine of avant-garde, Reggio Emilia, Diabasis, 2011.

Gyongyi Balogh, Prose from failing institutionsIn the 1960s, avant-garde antinovel and Modena, Mucchi editore, 2012

Francesco Muzzioli, Gruppo ' 63. Instructions for reading, Roma, Odradek,

2013 Nanni Balestrini, The experimental novel. Palermo, 1965, followed by hindsight, Roma, l'orma, 2013

Fajardo, the new novel. Vanguard fiction in the first phase of post modernity, Florence, FUP. 2013




Phenomenology of Mike Buongiorno is a famous essay written by semiologist Umberto Eco in 1961 and published within the work Diary minino.


It is considered, among other things, also one of the first examples of television criticism Analyzing from a semiotic point of view the reasons for the success of Italo-American television presenter Mike Bongiorno, already famous at the time of writing the essay is articulate sociological examination of the effects produced by the television in Italy of the economic boom, anticipating many decades a large number of considerations still topical about mental product mass of flattening viewers from a certain subculture present television, including the phenomenology at that time plotted was assumed. By virtue of its indisputable value of lexical properties which the author, notable semiological uses, and often brilliant syntax and arguments used mien researching a humorous effect, the wise man is wanted in the years risen to real intellectual institution – popular and became a literary event and entering into the collective imagination as a real language stereotype.


"Now, in the field of quantitative phenomena, the media represents a middle term, and for whom there is still aligned, it represents a milestone. Instead, in the field of qualitative phenomena, leveling the media matches the leveling to zero. A man who has all the moral and intellectual virtues in average degree in is just a minimal level of evolution.


The Aristotelian mediocrity is balance in the performance of their passions, governed by the discernitrice virtues of prudence; While the average medium and passions that can nurture prudence means being a poor specimen of humanity "


Mike Buongiorno argued that Umberto Eco had been one of the authors of the questions of the historical quiz Leave or Double? Umberto Eco has always denied that assertion of Mike.