“The Name of the Rose” Book Summary & Reviews | Written by Umberto Eco (1980)

The Name of the Rose book summary

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco: A Riveting Historical Mystery

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco is a captivating historical mystery novel set in the 14th century. The story follows the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and his young apprentice, Adso of Melk, as they arrive at a secluded Benedictine abbey. The abbey is shrouded in darkness and secrecy, and when a series of mysterious deaths occurs, William is tasked with unraveling the truth behind the crimes.

As William delves deeper into the investigation, he discovers that the abbey is home to a vast library that contains forbidden books and dangerous knowledge. The search for the truth becomes intertwined with philosophical debates, religious conflicts, and political intrigues of the time. Along the way, William and Adso encounter a host of intriguing characters, each with their own secrets and motivations.

The intricate plot of “The Name of the Rose” is interwoven with themes of power, knowledge, faith, and the eternal struggle between reason and superstition. Eco skillfully blends historical events, theological debates, and detective elements to create a rich and immersive reading experience. The book’s meticulous attention to detail and its evocative portrayal of the medieval period transport readers to a bygone era.


Here are some memorable quotes from “The Name of the Rose” that showcase Eco’s masterful writing and the themes explored in the novel:

  1. “Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means.” This quote reflects Eco’s fascination with the power of books and the importance of interpretation and critical thinking.

  2. “We live for books. A sweet mission in this world dominated by disorder and decay.” This quote speaks to the enduring allure of literature and the solace it provides in a chaotic world.

  3. “Laughter is a devilish poison.” Eco’s exploration of the dangers of humor and its potential to subvert authority and challenge established norms is evident in this quote.


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“The Name of the Rose” is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction, mystery, and intellectual thrillers. It appeals to readers who appreciate intricate storytelling, philosophical musings, and the exploration of profound ideas within a gripping narrative.


Now, let’s explore the perspectives of real readers who have experienced “The Name of the Rose”:

Review by Emily:
“Umberto Eco’s ‘The Name of the Rose’ is a literary masterpiece that seamlessly blends history, philosophy, and mystery. The rich tapestry of the medieval setting, coupled with the intricate plot and compelling characters, kept me captivated from beginning to end. Eco’s erudition is on full display, and his exploration of complex themes adds depth to the narrative. This book is a feast for the intellect and a thrilling journey into the past.”

Review by Michael:
“‘The Name of the Rose’ is a challenging but rewarding read. Eco’s meticulous attention to historical detail and his deep understanding of theology and philosophy create an immersive and intellectually stimulating experience. However, the dense prose and the inclusion of untranslated Latin passages can be daunting. Nonetheless, if you have the patience and a love for historical mysteries, this book is a treasure trove of knowledge and suspense.”

Review by Lisa:
“I was enthralled by ‘The Name of the Rose.’ Eco’s writing is elegant, and his ability to transport readers to medieval times is remarkable. The book not only tells a compelling mystery but also explores profound ideas about religion, knowledge, and human nature. It requires active engagement from the reader, but the payoff is immense. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction with intellectual depth.”


Overall, reader reviews of “The Name of the Rose” are overwhelmingly positive, praising Eco’s storytelling prowess, meticulous research, and the seamless integration of historical events and philosophical ideas. Readers admire the book’s immersive setting, complex characters, and the intricate web of secrets that keeps them guessing until the end. Some readers appreciate the challenging nature of the novel, while others find it intellectually stimulating. “The Name of the Rose” appeals to those with a penchant for historical mysteries, philosophical musings, and a love for richly detailed storytelling.

About the Author:

Umberto Eco (1932-2016) was an Italian novelist, essayist, and literary critic. He was a prominent figure in 20th-century literature, renowned for his intellectual depth and multidisciplinary approach to writing. Eco’s works often incorporated historical events, semiotics, and philosophical themes, making him a celebrated writer and thinker. His contributions to literature continue to be influential, and his novels, including “The Name of the Rose,” have left an indelible mark on the literary world.

Books by Umberto Eco