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Italian philosopher-writer Umberto Eco dies at 84

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By Ann Tyller | February 21, 2016 8:16 pm

The celebrated Italian intellectual, writer and philosopher Umberto Eco, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose, has died aged 84.

His novel The Name of the Rose shot to fame in 1980.

Born on 5 January 1932 in Alessandria, north-west Italy, Eco rejected his father’s wish that he study law and instead read philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.

TThe celebrated Italian intellectual, writer and philosopher Umberto Eco

The celebrated Italian intellectual, writer and philosopher Umberto Eco

Eco began his career as a scholar of medieval studies and semiotics.

Eco founded the communications department at the University of San Marino in the 1980s.

He was later professor emeritus and chairman of the Higher School of Humanities of the University of Bologna.

Eco once wrote that “books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told”.

“I am a philosopher,” he was quoted as saying. “I write novels only on the weekends.”

Leading daily Corriere della Sera called Eco “the writer who changed Italian culture”, while newspaper La Stampa described a country in mourning for the author’s death.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi led tributes to Eco.

“He was an extraordinary example of a European intellectual,” Mr Renzi said.
“He embodied both the unique intelligence of the past and a tireless capacity for anticipating the future.”

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