Italian academic who achieved literary fame with a single novel, The Name of the Rose (1981).
Born in Alessandria, Piedmont, Eco studied at Turin University and has devoted his academic career to teaching semiotics and literary theory at Bologna University. His wide-ranging interests embrace James Joyce, medieval philosophy, and pop culture. The Name of the Rose is a murder mystery set in a medieval monastery. It achieved both critical acclaim and huge sales; in 1986 it was turned into a successful film starring Sean Connery as the monk detective. Eco's second novel, Foucault's Pendulum (1989), was also based on painstaking research but failed to reach a wide public: his most recent novel is The Island of the Day Before (1995). Eco's nonfiction works include The Theory of Semiotics (1975). In addition to his writing and teaching, Eco is a popular TV pundit in Italy.