Umberto Eco was born on January 5, 1932, in Alessandria, Italy. A voracious reader in his childhood of everything from classic novels to comics, he went on to become a scholar of aesthetics and semiotics, working as a professor at the University of Bologna. Many of his writings in criticism, history and communication have been translated into various foreign languages.
When his medieval-themed novel The Name of the Rose appeared in 1980, Eco became an international literary star. He has explored the connections between philosophy, fantasy and reality in other bestselling novels that received a mixed critical reception, including Foucault's Pendulum (1988), The Island of the Day Before (1994), Baudolino (2000) and The Prague Cemetery (2010). Eco, who had been diagnosed with cancer, died on February 19, 2016, in Milan.
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