ECO, UMBERTO. (1932-2016). Italian academic, critic and novelist best known for his works The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum. TLS. (“Umberto Eco”). 2/3p. 4to. Milan, November 2, 1983. On his personal stationery. To New York bibliophile PHILIP SPERLING (1912-1997).
“Thank you for your letter. I think that the best award for having written a novel is a passionate response on the part of one’s readers. In writing my novel I felt, first of all, a great pleasure. I am delighted when I discover that my readers feel the same pleasure. It is a way to establish a sort of sincere friendship with many persons, all around the world.
As for the title, the rose is so overwhelmed with symbolic meanings that everyone can fill it up with every possible interpretation. As a matter of fact I was thinking of the last line of my book: “the rose of yore remains only through its name and we hold only bare names.” It seems to me that such a line was a good epitome for a book dominated by ‘nominalistic’ feelings and based upon other books…“