Reading The Name of the Rose: Introduction

Embracing the Classics is something anyone can do, at any stage in their reading. In my post on books I haven’t read, I said I was looking forward to reading a few that have gotten pushed back multiple times. So, I’m starting now.

My goal each week is to get through one section of Umberto Echo’s The Name of the Rose. I should mention that I have started it before, but never finished it due to the long translation time. Written originally in Italian with points in Latin, French, and, I believe, German, every time I begin I start all over again with the language barrier. My copy is in English, so the Italian isn’t the issue, but there a regular sections where Latin is key. I took four years of Latin, so naturally I know nothing. To be more accurate, I can usually work things out if I take the time but I’m very rusty. I am reading this in conjunction with my husband’s studies, including a Latin primer. While it may be slow going, I will be providing translations for the Latin segments of each chapter.

I was tempted to do this in a Let’s Play style where I can read each section and give you my reactions, but that is neither profitable, not fair. This is a mystery after all, and, as my students can tell you, Myers Rule #1 is, “No Spoilers.”

As I read through each section I’ll point out key themes and at the end have a marked spoiler review, but the important thing here is to look at the process. This book is a classic, one I have not read and is challenging for me. I have asked you to embrace the classics and would like to see you take up a book that is equally as challenging for you.

I will be starting with ‘Naturally, a Manuscript’ and the Prologue which from previous experience comprises a historical setting for the novel as well as the recent history of the archivist in the frame story.

As I work through this book myself I’ll show you my translations, my book notes, and basic literary critique. Each week we’ll go over one day of the book. The book is divided into seven days and each day is divided into eight segments based on monastic orders.

I’ll close with a quote from the author, “For it is a tale of books, not of every day worries I’m reading it can lead us to recite with a Kempis, the great imitator: ‘In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro.'”

To start my translation, courtesy of me from a year ago: “In everywhere have I sought solace, but found it only in a corner with a book.”

Happy Reading
– Kate