The Really Popular Book Club: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Tuesday 29 November 2022, 7.00pm to 8.00pm GMT
The Really Popular Book Club is the reading group hosted by Cambridge University Libraries. Everyone is invited to join them and their special guests to discuss a really popular book, one that we all know and perhaps or perhaps not love.
This October, The University Library's Really Popular Book Club will discuss Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose is a historical murder mystery set in 1327. It follows the story of Fransiscan Friar William of Baskerville and novice Adso of Melk as they attempt to solve a series of murders in a Northern Italian monastery. Baskerville is a medieval Sherlock Holmes, and he and Adso must unravel the seemingly intricate tale of multiple murders, held up by both the monks and the labyrinthine monastery building.
Eco was semiotician and medievalist, and the novel is both a beautifully plotted mystery and philosophical exploration of signs, biblical analysis, and literary theory. The Name of the Rose is one of the bestselling novels ever published.
Our special guest for the evening is Dr Suzanne Paul, Keeper of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts at Cambridge University Library. About the book, Suzanne says: “As an impressionable 14-year old, this novel fuelled my fascination with the medieval past. I’m intrigued to read it again after 20+ years professionally immersed in the world of medieval manuscripts.”
As well as hearing from Suzanne about her thoughts and observations on The Name of the Rose, we will once again be opening the floor up to you, our club members, to share your own observations and remarks. To get you thinking and to help prepare any comments or questions you might want to share, we have prepared three starter questions:
- The Name of the Rose is a crime mystery but one set in a very different time from our own. What does the novel’s medieval setting mean for the nature of the mystery?
- Signs, meaning, and interpretation were key to Umberto Eco’s academic work and run throughout the novel. What does this scholarship bring to the novel? Can it be truly understood without the academic learning?
- Knowledge, its control, and its interpretation runs throughout The Name of the Rose. How is knowledge represented in the monastery and in the medieval period?
Further information about The Really Popular Book Club, including our FAQs, can be found here.
Booking for this event is now closed.