May 8, 2010


“For this reason,” the abbot continued, “I consider that any case involving the error of a shepherd can be entrusted only to men like you, who can distinguish not only good from evil, but also what is expedient from what is not. I like to think you pronounced a sentence of guilty only when ...”
“... the accused were guilty of criminal acts, of poisoning, of the corruption of innocent youths, or other abominations my mouth dares not utter …”
“… that you pronounced sentence only when,” the abbot continued, not heeding the interruption, “the presence of the Devil was so evident to all eyes that it was impossible to act otherwise without the clemency’s being more scandalous than the crime itself.”
“When I found someone guilty,” William explained, “he had really committed crimes of such gravity that in all conscience I could hand him over to the secular arm.”

—Umberto Eco, THE NAME OF THE ROSE, translated from the Italian by William Weaver, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc and Martin Secker & Warburg, 1983. Originally published in Italy in 1980 under the title Il nome della rosa by Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri-Bompiani, Sonzogno, Etas SpA.

It’s almost as if he could indifferently look into the past and the future, and anticipate the issues of the present time while recalling those of a remote past...

I love re-reading my favorite books, and this time it’s The Name of the Rose’s turn. Generally speaking, it’s a wonderful adventure, always new and always different, because every time we re-read a book, we ourselves are new men and women, having been made such by the vicissitudes of life, by our personal experiences and achievements, both spiritual and intellectual. No one is the same person they were even as long ago as yesterday. That’s why re-reading great works of literature is such a wonderful experience: the more you read them, the more you fall in love with them. To say nothing about a book such as the Bible, the book of the books—I’ve lost count of the times I’ve re-read it…