The Key to The Name of the Rose

Including Translations of All Non-English Passages
Adele J. Haft, Jane G. White, and Robert J. White
Unravels Umberto Eco's classic mystery novel


"The Key to 'The Name of the Rose' is a conversation with readers of The Name of the Rose. You will find it a wonderfully illuminating conversation that furthers and deepens your reading experience. The authors' scholarship is as unerring as their sense of fun: The Key is full of bizarre characters and mirthful anecdotes. It is, in truth, a delightful guide not just to The Name of the Rose, but to the Middle Ages. For those who have read and enjoyed The Name of the Rose, this key will prove a belated boom; for those who have been intending to take the plunge, The Key is a real lifesaver, time-saver, decoder. But it is also a pleasure in itself."
—Thomas Cahill

Originally published in 1987, The Key to 'The Name of the Rose' remains the only commentary on Umberto Eco's historical novel available in English. With over twenty translations of The Name of the Rose available there was a great need for commentaries in other languages.

Whatever has brought or returned you to Eco's masterpiece, The Key to 'The Name of the Rose' will serve as a scholarly but readable companion, one that will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of Eco's intricate text.

Praise / Awards

  • "Eco fans will find his dictionary of obscure references invaluable. . . ."
    Medium Aevum, LXIX (2000)
  • "Simply put, this is a marvelous book, a wonderful resource for both the beginner and the Eco scholar alike. The writing style is fresh and very readable, striking the perfect balance between academic rigor and simplicity of use—it tells you exactly what you need to know, often pointing out small jokes, interesting asides, and occasional inconsistencies. . . . It really is a small treasure. . . ."
    —Allen B. Ruch, Porta Ludovica

Look Inside


Preface     xi
Author's Notes     15
Introduction     17
Chapter One: Umberto Eco, Semiotics, and Medieval Thought     19
Chapter Two: A Brief Chronology of the Middle Ages     31
Chapter Three: An Annotated Guide to the Historical and Literary References in The Name of the Rose     35
Chapter Four: Notes on the Text of The Name of the Rose Including Translations of All Non-English Passages     94
Postscript: For Those Who Have Finished The Name of the Rose     177
Works by Umberto Eco     185
Bibliography     189
About the Authors     193

Product Details

  • 5.375 x 8.
  • 216pp.
  • 3 drawings.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08621-4

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  • $19.95 U.S.