Umberto Eco (born 5 January 1932, died on 19 February 2016) was an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist.
Graduated in philosophy in 1954, he dedicated most of his life to the study of the Medieval Culture and Philosophy, laying the foundations for his fictional works. He became popular for his groundbreaking 1980 novel The Name of the Rose, which 1986 in was transposed into a movie starring Sean Connery by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The novel was based on an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. He has since written further novels, including Foucault’s Pendulum and Baudolino. His most recent novel, Numero Zero, was released in 2015.
As a semiotician, in 1988 he founded the Communication Department at the University of the Republic of San Marino and he is considered one of the fathers of the communication studies in Italy. Since 1975 he was Professor of Semiotics at the Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, the most ancient University in Europe.
Around the end of the 50s, after his experience in RAI, the Italian national television, he started to write about mass media and mass culture, publishing many articles which were later collected in Misreadings (original title, Diario minimo) and Apocalypse Postponed (original title, Apocalittici e Integrati).
Since the late 60s he dedicated his studies to semiotics, narratology, and literature. Some of his most remarkable works in this fields include Lector in fabula and Six Walks in the Fictional Woods.