Ecce Eco

Ecce Eco

The algorithm fed me the "Making of The Name of the Rose" where Jean-Jacques Annaud, the director, describes various episodes, especially the ones around casting.

Sean Connery got the job by presenting himself at Jean-Jacques Annaud's office and asking "May I give you a reading for the part?". As Sir Connery was reading, the director was troubled by how it matched the inner voice he had for William of Baskerville all these years.

Annaud had previously had hopes for Robert de Niro, negociations were going well until De Niro proposed to add a sword duel scene between Baskerville and the Dominican inquisitor.

Let me mix a fight scene in your investigation scenario...

The algorithm then went on feeding me interviews and ex cathedra talks from Umberto Eco, the semiologist and the author of Il Nome della Rosa.

The library as drawn by Umberto Eco

The story of his family name, Eco, fascinated me. Umberto's grandfather had been a found child, his name was chosen by a city official. Eco explained how such officials may come up with names hard to bear.

A friend of Eco came up on a list of Jesuit acronyms in the Vatican Library where E.C.O. meant "Ex Caelis Oblatus", a gift from the heavens. What a beautiful name.

Back to the scenario. Whodunnit? Monk De Burgos in the library with a poisoned codex.

A donjon in English and in French is a medieval castle's massive inner tower, while a dungeon is a dark, usually underground, prison. The library in the Name of the Rose is, physically, a donjon.

The equivalent to dungeon in French is les oubliettes (from oublier, to forget, somewhere things or people are left to be forgotten).

Is the library to be a dungeon, for knowledge?

I loved the book, I loved the movie until its end, which is an awful happy end.

Less than a century later, in the non-fictional timeline, Poggio Bracciolini, the manuscript hunter, gave us back "De Rerum Natura", he had found it in an unspecified german monastery. What an adventure.

Umberto Eco is said to have been at some point tired of his studies of medieval subjects, so he wrote the Name of the Rose as a way of killing some of the omnipresent monks and get some distraction. A fine piece of fiction.