17 September 2007
Watched the ‘palimpsest of Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose,’ over the weekend, and it was as good as I remembered. I was a little disappointed that the film didn’t focus a little more on what I thought was one of the most interesting, though indirect, themes of the book.
Brother William of Baskerville is unusual because of his break from dogmas of knowledge, both sacred and profane. Almost omnipresent in the book and almost absent from the movie was Eco’s interplay between the borderline heresy and ultimate utility of modern infidel knowledge (e.g., optics in the form of spectacles) and the frame story, a deeply layered historical text. The best knowledge is modern, but the best stories are ancient? I’m not sure what he might be saying.