The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose

Audio CD(Unabridged)

$98.98 View All Available Formats & Editions


Umberto Eco’s first novel, an international sensation and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix Médicis Étranger awards

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

“Like the labyrinthine library at its heart, this brilliant novel has many cunning passages and secret chambers…Fascinating…ingenious…dazzling.” – Newsweek

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781843797623
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Publication date: 09/28/2013
Edition description: Unabridged

About the Author

UMBERTO ECO is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the best-selling novels The Prague Cemetery and Foucault’s Pendulum, and most recently, the essay collection Inventing the Enemy.


Bologna, Italy

Date of Birth:

January 5, 1932

Date of Death:

February 19, 2016

Place of Birth:

Alessandria, Italy


Ph.D., University of Turin, 1954

Read an Excerpt


In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was beginning with God and the duty of every faithful monk would be to repeat every day with chanting humility the one never-changing event whose incontrovertible truth can be asserted. But we see now through a glass darkly, and the truth, before it is revealed to all, face to face, we see in fragments (alas, how illegible) in the error of the world, so we must spell out its faithful signals even when they seem obscure to us and as if amalgamated with a will wholly bent on evil.
   Having reached the end of my poor sinner’s life, my hair now white, I grow old as the world does, waiting to be lost in the bottomless pit of silent and deserted divinity, sharing in the light of angelic intelligences; confined now with my heavy, ailing body in this cell in the dear monastery of Melk, I prepare to leave on this parchment my testimony as to the wondrous and terrible events that I happened to observe in my youth, now repeating all that I saw and heard, without venturing to seek a design, as if to leave to those who will come after (if the Antichrist has not come first) signs of signs, so that the prayer of deciphering may be exercised on them.
   May the Lord grant me the grace to be the transparent witness of the occurrences that took place in the abbey whose name it is only right and pious now to omit, toward the end of the year of our Lord 1327, when the Emperor Louis came down into Italy to restore the dignity of the Holy Roman Empire, in keeping with the designs of the Almighty and to the confusion of the wicked usurper, simoniac, and heresiarch who in Avignon brought shame on the holy name of the apostle (I refer to the sinful soul of Jacques of Cahors, whom the impious revered as John XXII).
   Perhaps, to make more comprehensible the events in which I found myself involved, I should recall what was happening in those last years of the century, as I understood it then, living through it, and as I remember it now, complemented by other stories I heard afterward — if my memory still proves capable of connecting the threads of happenings so many and confused.
   In the early years of that century Pope Clement V had moved the apostolic seat to Avignon, leaving Rome prey to the ambitions of the local overlords: and gradually the holy city of Christianity had been transformed into a circus, or into a brothel, riven by the struggles among its leaders; though called a republic, it was not one, and it was assailed by armed bands, subjected to violence and looting. Ecclesiastics, eluding secular jurisdiction, commanded groups of malefactors and robbed, sword in hand, transgressing and organizing evil commerce. How was it possible to prevent the Caput Mundi from becoming again, and rightly, the goal of the man who wanted to assume the crown of the Holy Roman Empire and restore the dignity of that temporal dominion that had belonged to the Caesars?
   Thus in 1314 five German princes in Frankfurt elected Louis the Bavarian supreme ruler of the empire. But that same day, on the opposite shore of the Main, the Count Palatine of the Rhine, and the Archbishop of Cologne elected Frederick of Austria to the same high rank. Two emperors for a single throne and a single pope for two: a situation that, truly, fomented great disorder. . .
   Two years later, in Avignon, the new Pope was elected, Jacques of Cahors, an old man of seventy-two who took, as I have said, the name of John XXII , and heaven grant that no pontiff take again a name now so distasteful to the righteous. A Frenchman, devoted to the King of France (the men of that corrupt land are always inclined to foster the interests of their own people, and are unable to look upon the whole world as their spiritual home), he had supported Philip the Fair against the Knights Templars, whom the King accused (I believe unjustly) of the most shameful crimes so that he could seize their possessions with the complicity of that renegade ecclesiastic.
   In 1322 Louis the Bavarian defeated his rival Frederick. Fearing a single emperor even more than he had feared two, John excommunicated the victor, who in return denounced the Pope as a heretic. I must also recall how, that very year, the chapter of the Franciscans was convened in Perugia, and the minister general, Michael of Cesena, accepting the entreaties of the Spirituals (of whom I will have occasion to speak), proclaimed as a matter of faith and doctrine the poverty of Christ, who, if he owned something with his apostles, possessed it only as usus facti. A worthy resolution, meant to safeguard the virtue and purity of the order, it highly displeased the Pope, who perhaps discerned in it a principle that would jeopardize the very claims that he, as head of the church, had made, denying the empire the right to elect bishops, and asserting on the contrary that the papal throne had the right to invest the emperor. Moved by these or other reasons, John condemned the Franciscan propositions in 1323 with the decretal Cum inter nonnullos.
   It was at this point, I imagine, that Louis saw the Franciscans, now the Pope’s enemies, as his potential allies. By affirming the poverty of Christ, they were somehow strengthening the ideas of the imperial theologians, namely Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun. And finally, not many months before the events I am narrating, Louis came to an agreement with the defeated Frederick, descended into Italy, and was crowned in Milan.
   This was the situation when I — a young Benedictine novice in the monastery of Melk — was removed from the peace of the cloister by my father, fighting in Louis’s train, not least among his barons. He thought it wise to take me with him so that I might know the wonders of Italy and be present when the Emperor was crowned in Rome. But the siege of Pisa then absorbed him in military concerns. Left to myself, I roamed among the cities of Tuscany, partly out of idleness and partly out of a desire to learn. But this undisciplined freedom, my parents thought, was not suitable for an adolescent devoted to a contemplative life. And on the advice of Marsilius, who had taken a liking to me, they decided to place me under the direction of a learned Franciscan, Brother William of Baskerville, about to undertake a mission that would lead him to famous cities and ancientabbeys. Thus I became William’s scribe and disciple at the same time, nor did I ever regret it, because with him I was witness to events worthy of being handed down, as I am now doing, to those who will come after us.

I did not then know what Brother William was seeking, and to tell the truth, I still do not know today, and I presume he himself did not know, moved as he was solely by the desire for truth, and by the suspicion — which I could see he always harbored — that the truth was not what was appearing to him at that moment. And perhaps during those years he had been distracted from his beloved studies by secular duties. The mission with which William had been charged remained unknown to me while we were on our journey, or, rather, he never spoke to me about it. It was only by overhearing bits of his conversations with the abbots of the monasteries where we stopped along the way that I formed some idea of the nature of this assignment. But I did not understand it fully until we reached our destination.
   Our destination was to the north, but our journey did not follow a straight line, and we rested at various abbeys. Thus it happened that we turned westward (though we ought to have been going east), almost following the line of mountains that from Pisa leads in the direction of the pilgrim’s way to Santiago, pausing in a place which, due to what occurred there, it is better that I do not name, but whose lords were liege to the empire, and where the abbots of our order, all in agreement, opposed the heretical, corrupt Pope. Our journey lasted two weeks, amid various vicissitudes, and during that time I had the opportunity to know (never enough, I remain convinced) my new master.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Name of the Rose 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 199 reviews.
DrJimC More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, but I feel it useful to provide editing feedback in this early stage of eBooks. The maps of the abbey and the library are poorly transferred to the eBook format. In both cases, only the upper left corner of each of these maps are visible on the BN nook. This does not seriously detract from this fantastic novel, but I was disappointed by the seeming lack of effort to format these images appropriately for the nook.
william_deeds More than 1 year ago
If I were asked which book had greatly impacted my intellectuality, I would say it was "The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco. Even though the book was very challenging and complex, the literary elements used (in the novel) made it a very well written book. It entertained me for five complete days in which I was successfully forced to isolate myself from the world, only to live this medieval experience at its best. After reading those exhausting first 100 pages (that were the most challenging from the entire book) in which the abbey was being described with excessive detail, I really got hooked up even more. The plot advanced extremely fast after these first 100 pages, and before I even knew it, I was finishing the novel with tremendous pride. After reading "The Name of the Rose" everything was worth it; all my time, my effort, etc. invested gave their respective "healthy fruits". Many appropriate elements in the book, not seen in any other book, successfully made me feel as if I were part of the most intriguing era: the medieval era. The Latin phrases disseminated throughout the text, the magnificent descriptions of the abbey, the historical context in which this book took place in, but especially, the ideas expressed in the book, were the elements that made this book superior from the others to such a level that a movie was made to fulfill the vast excellence of this work (although the movie is not as good as the book). The author also used an opportune book structure throughout the text that was historically used by the medieval intellectuals (the scholars). When they wrote books, the medieval scholars used summaries at the beginning of each chapter, and this made me feel (even more) as if I were part of the medieval era. All the ideas, superstitions, beliefs, etc, exposed in the book really made me think seriously. It is extremely interesting how the author combined religion and philosophy in the book. For instance, the blind scholar Jorge of Burgos feverously made a very profound point about religion that came in hand with the philosophy of life (or existentialism). Jorge played a huge roll in the novel using, as a justification for his actions, the seriousness of life (not laughing at anything since it is a great offense to God). This was the main point (with many more) were philosophy and religion of the medieval era fought against each other, and this combination really left me pondering a lot. Besides this, the book carried out the idea of history throughout its plot, which I really liked. This historical consistency seen throughout the novel gave me a very high-quality history lesson about a specific part of the medieval era. This is a very well written book that should be read only when you feel intellectually and physically strong enough (since this book is not that simple and requires quite a lot of time). I sincerely recommend, and it's a must read book. Waste no more time, and READ IT NOW!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had no idea when I picked up this random book hiding on a shelf in a bookstore that I would not be able to put it down for 2 weeks. It blows Tolken's books out of the water. I didn't think I could find a better mystery than A Tale of Two Cities, but did I ever.
Anthrogrl More than 1 year ago
Umberto Eco's novel takes place in the Middle Ages- the investigator is Brother William of Baskerville (a nod to another famous sleuth) who, assisted by his apprentice Adso, uncovers a series of murders during a thelogical summit at a wealthy monastery. Mystery and history-buffs will enjoy this novel, although the plot can be difficult to follow due to Eco's tendency to digress into complicated theological arguments and vague historical references. 'The Name of the Rose' is a hefty read that can be dull in some parts, but overall it is an enjoyable story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely hard to get into. Even Eco comments in his notes in the back that his friends and editor suggested lightening up the first 100 pages or so. I found myself lost in the different monk factions and their political agendas which, while interesting, were a bit 'thick' to get through. Yes, some of this was critical to understanding the characters' motivations, but it could have been done in such a way as to be less 'plodding'. Once I made it past that, it was an enjoyable read. So,if you undertake this book, don't be discouraged by the beginning!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the fact that reading an Umberto Eco book can make a reader feel gravely undereducated, The Name of the Rose's core story is truly a masterpiece. A patient, attentive reader will be rewarded with a compelling, suspensful, layered mystery combined with keen insight into the disturbing religious zeal of Europe in the Middle Ages. The only drawback I found was the occasional long-winded digressions into things that didn't seem to contribute much, if anything to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I strongly recommend this italian novel written by Umberto Eco! It is set in North of Italy in the middle ages and the main characters are 2 franciscan monks, who investigate some murders which happen in a monastery. The book is a historical novel and it has been considered an authentic masterpiece. What pushed me to read the book is the fact that the film based on this book has always been my favourite. So I decided to read it and, surprisingly enough, I found it even more memorable than the film. It really immerses you in the atmosphere of the time, and the plot, so full of suspanse, makes the book unputdownable. What struck me has been the possibility to find in the book a mixture of different elements, such as the romanticism of a love story, the suspense of a detective book and, above all, a deep reflection and criticism on the society of the time, considered by the writter as the childhood of our modern Europe. In this novel you will flind everything you could look for in a book. I can assure that reading it will be an unforgettable experience.
douahe More than 1 year ago
Eco's "The Name of the Rose" epitomizes everything that historical fiction should be. Fictional events set in true cultural history. Eco's mastery of medieval history and philosophy is indicated in every aspect of the story. His depictions of medieval monastic society are fantastic. His grasp of the philosophical struggles going on between the different Mendicant orders, the Mendicant orders and the greater Catholic Church, and different factions inside the Church. The murder mystery he tells is intricately tied to the philosophical and cultural struggles of the time. The slowly shifting paradigms are exquisitely integrated into the plot. Unless you have a good grasp of Latin, French and German I highly recommend purchasing the companion book for The Name of the Rose. It provides translations for all of the passages not already translated into English.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To say that Umberto Eco is a literary phenomenon would not be going too far. 'The Name of the Rose' is a wonderfully written novel that intertwines mystery and philosophy in the captivating late Middle Ages. It is a book that can be enjoyed by both the thinker and the sleuth, although I think that one who is both will get even more out of it. I read 'Angels and Demons' as well as 'The Da Vinci Code,' and 'The Name of the Rose' is still the uncontested heavyweight champ. Also, the movie does little to reveal Signore Eco's literary skill, so stick with the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely a difficult read (I had to have a dictionary close by) but it was also a wonderful, suspenseful, absolutely engrossing book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was tough for me to get through, but I kept at it because I was certain it had good qualities. And it did! There were parts that were very wordy and rather dull, but the good parts were great. In retrospect, I'm very glad I stuck with it... the historical aspects were very thought provoking, and it was a darn good mystery. Would recommend it to an adventurous, serious reader, but not for a lightweight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quite simply the finest historical novel ever written. Eco raised the bar both in historical fiction and whodunnits. One of the most literary works of modern times, an absolute must.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
In the year 1327, Brother William of Baskerville is assigned an investigation of a possible heresy in a wealthy Italian Abbey, Abbaye de la Source, somewhere between Pompeii and Passy. The Novel is narrated by a young Benedictine novice and William's assistant, Adso of Melk. The story occurs in seven days of 1327, and the chapters are related to the daily monastic life of a Benedictine convent's canonical hours: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers, and Compline. The book is 503 pages long, so it comes to around 72 pages/day. The religious bacground is ruled by the protagonists Pope John XXII (1249 - December 4, 1334), born Jacques Duèze (or d'Euse), who was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy. (1309-1377), elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France. Like his predecessor, Clement V, he centralized power and income in the Papacy, living a princely life in Avignon and spending a lot of money for his court and his wars. The Pope opposed Louis IV of Bavaria as emperor, and Louis, in turn invaded Italy, and set up an antipope, Nicholas V. Pope John XXII had set a a constitution concerning the taxae sacrae poenitentiariae in which the pope exploited the sins of the religious in order to squeeze out more money by creating the indulgence. However the Franciscans had a vow of poverty and opposed this doctrine, thus the Pope wanted to declare them heretics because the Franciscan belief was not good for his business. So William of Baskerville arrives to the Abbaye de la Source to see if a mediation is possible between the two factions, since there is a suspicion that some of the members of the abbey are against the indulgences. His mission is overshadowed by a series of bizarre deaths and accusations of homosexuality between certain monks-so Brother William, aided by Adso, turn detectives. Their mission now is to find the killer before the two factions: the Italians who believe in the vow of poverty, and the French who want to continue the practice of indulgence arrive for a meeting to consider a compromise. William's tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon-all sharpened to a glistened edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. William collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where the most interesting things happen at night. His foes are secrecy, religious rules and a secret desire to guard the library-for only the librarian can control the knowledge that leaves the convent. It is no accident that the book starts out as a mystery and continues to deceive the reader until the climactic end-until the reader realizes that this is a mystery in which very little is discovered and the good detective is defeated. It is no accident, either, that the book should have been edited-it contains long didactic passages that even the book editors requested be edited out. The author's explanation for boring you too death with them is that if somebody wanted to enter the abbey and live there for seven days-he had to accept the abbey's slow pace. Therefore there are several hundred pages that are purposely left as a penance or an initiation. Unfortunately for us, the readers, the penance is almost all the way to the end-until we discover that the historical premise and the crimes had nothing to do with the book. But rather it was a theologic
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the spanish version of this book back in 1987 while in school, i loved it, if you watch the movie with sean connery you will understand it better. The book gives you more details and scenarios which makes the book a little tedious but i totally recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Name of the Rose is a masterful blending of fiction, history, and a whole lot of murders. It seemed to run similar to an Agatha Christie novel with the historical aspects of the book shining through to add to the feeling that the book expresses. The book is a historical fiction and a murder mystery too which makes for a fast paced plot that keeps you riveted till the shocking conclusion. A must for anyone who loves mysteries, historical fiction or just a good book to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine recommended this book, but ruined the ending before I read it. I was still intrigued by the concept behind the book, so I decided to buy it. I wasn't disappointed either. I can't say I understood all of the historical references, but aside from that the intricate plot development was amazing. I never would have suspected the ending. A wonderful labyrinth of surprises.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Umberto Eco knows how to creat great atmospheres, how to thrill the reader, and most of all, how to write. The most amazing is how easily he pulls a fiction story out of History. Simply amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Big concepts taught in an interesting plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book had a great story line, it was soooo difficult to get through. I had to make myself stay with it. There are too many long wordy paragraphs that lost me.
wsj1238 More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable book, and have told all my friends about this great book.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
If you read this novel looking for the eerie murder mystery you remember from the film adaptation, you’ll find it—plus much more. Eco weaves this mysterious tale of monastic serial murder around the philosophical and theological schism that tore the Catholic church apart in the 14th century. Consequently, lengthy passages of the novel are devoted to religious debates concerning the poverty of Christ and whether the Franciscan devotion to it is appropriate, considering the Pope’s fondness for material possessions, wealth, and glamour in general. If you’re not already familiar with this historical context (and I wasn’t), you’ll need to invest considerable time and energy researching the state of the Catholic church in the middle of the 14th century. The good news is that it’ll be time and energy well invested, for the truth behind the murders in the monastery has much to do with the nature of religious knowledge and the problematic connection between truth and faith, as well as the determination of who holds the privilege to decide how and with whom various forms of knowledge are shared. Ultimately, the power struggle in the monastery—a microcosm of the power struggle within the church itself—lies at the bottom of the mystery, which is eventually solved by the Franciscan monk, William of Baskerville (a clever nod to the locale of one of Sherlock Holmes’ most well-known cases). If you don’t mind navigating through the web of intellectual rhetoric and history (and if you’re reading an Eco novel, what else would you expect?), you’ll be rewarded with a compelling tale of misbehaving monks.
heathweaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eco is an amazing author. I highly recommend this book as an enjoyable read.
hermit_9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this too long ago for much in the way of detail here. I just love Eco.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found it unreadable. So did pretty much everyone I know who tried it. Just watch the movie.
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Name of the Rose was a wildly interesting read that I'm glad I finally got around to reading. From a high level, the book is the story of a monk and his young assistant (novice) investigating a string of murders in a monastery in the 13th century. However, giving a "high level" overview of this book is a little misleading because there is just so, so, so much going on with this book. I read Foucault's Pendulum last year and the nature of the research and depth of this book is similar, but overall Name of the Rose is more accessible and likely to find a wider audience than Foucault's Pendulum.A quote from Eco indicated that the book has three primary ways to be read: First, to read just for the plot. Second, to be read from a historical standpoint and learn about the workings and debates of the medieval church. Third, to be read as an intertextual novel.The book follows a monk, William of Baskerville, and his assistant, Adso, as they travel to a monastery for the purpose of participating in a debate on a piece of church doctrine (the poverty of Christ) which was causing unrest and dissension among the various monastic orders. This particular issue, and many of the other conversations among the monks, is based on true historical events. The attention to detail and accuracy is one of the many things that impressed me a lot about this book and about Eco's writing in general. Reading some of the commentary of the book, it's explained how Eco went about determining the setting, the year and even the time of year for the book based on keeping true to research and data. Furthermore, the nature of the elements he wanted to include "forced" Eco to set his novel in a different century than the one he was already proficiently studied in (I believe the article indicated that Eco was well studied in 14th Century history)...but in order to keep the novel accurate, he set the novel in a different year and thus had to do more research.As I mentioned at the beginning, the main plot follows the investigations of William and Adso as they try to solve a string of grisly murders within the monastery. We're also taken alongside them in the debate and discussion about theology and, as a later part of the investigation, get to see the nature of a medieval Inquisition.The intertextuality of the story stood out to me quickly as William and Adso approached the monastery at the beginning and William deduced the "mystery" of a lost horse and then explained his deductive reasoning to Adso. I was quickly reminded of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Indeed, William's home (Baskerville) served as another tribute to Holmes. The format of the narration is also similar to the way Watson narrates the Holmes adventures. In a large degree, William and Adso are presented as a sort of medieval Sherlock and Watson. William is sometimes quirky and snarky but also has a very methodical deductive process that seems to get results.Some of the other intertextual references were less obvious. I thought about a possible relation between Jorge of Burgos (one of the main monks) to the author Jorge Luis Borges. I haven't read enough of his work to see comparisons or tributes or anything, but in the commentary I read, it indicated that Eco definitely wanted to give a nod to Borges. There were a few other potential intertextual references that were less known to me, but also very interesting. The title of the book is apparently an intertextual reference to lines of a poem quoted at the very end of the book. I don't understand the full relationship, but it is an added element to shine on the depth of meticulous research that Eco uses in his writing.Overall, I found that the depth and detail of the novel was very, very intriguing but it also slowed down my reading progress at times. Especially when the text explored the elements of theological elements such as the nature of heresy, the poverty of Christ, the relationship between the Pope and