Sunday, February 21, 2016

BW8: R.I.P. Umberto Eco and Harper Lee

Brenda Burke Fine Art 


This is a sad week for the book world as we have lost both Umberto Eco (84) and Harper Lee (89).  

Umberto Eco studied medieval philosophy and literature at the University of Turin and his thesis about Thomas Aquinas earned him a Laurea Degree in philosophy. He was a cultural editor for Radiotelevisione italiana, italy's national public broadcasting company and a lecturer at the University of Turin.  He has a 30,000 volume library in his apartment in Milan and a 20,000 volume library in his vacation home near Rimini,

Nasim Talab who wrote The Black Rose says in Brainpickings Umberto Eco's Library: Why Unread Books Are More Valuable to Our Lives than Read Ones:  
The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

Harper Lee studied law at the University of Alabama and wrote for the school newspaper, but never finished her degree.  She moved to New York City and worked as an airline reservation agent while pursuing writing in her off time.  After completing To Kill a Mockingbird, she became Truman Capote's research assistant.   She accompanied him while he traveled and helped him conduct interviews and wrote up all the notes for his novel In Cold Blood.   Capote minimized her role in the creation of the story, thus destroying their friendship.  To Kill a Mockingbird was published to great acclaim.  Interest in Lee declined when no further books were written or published. In 2015, Go Set a Watchman was published.  The book was  a sequel to Mockingbird, a story Lee had written first, but had been held back by the publisher.  


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  ` To Kill a Mockingbird

I currently have  Eco's Foucault's Pendulum on my nightstand which I'll be reading this week. Join me in honoring both authors by reading one of their books this year. 


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1 comment:

  1. so sad to hear about Harper Lee. I ordered her latest book and it is waiting on my kindle.

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