The Name of the Rose | Sunday Observer

The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco is set in Italy in the fourteenth century. The plot of the novel revolves around the mysterious deaths of priests in a Benedictine Abbey. The priests of the Abbey die under mysterious circumstances and a Franciscan priest named William of Baskerville is consulted to solve the mystery. The main character in the novel is William of Baskerville and is a direct allusion to Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Also, William of Baskerville’s assistant, a trainee priest named Adso of Melk performs a function similar to that of Watson in the Sherlock Holmes novels.

The Name of the Rose begins with William and Adso’s journey to the Benedictine Abbey in Northern Italy. Much of the mystery in the novel surrounds the library which has ancient manuscripts and many volumes of rare and valuable books. William uses methods of observation similar to that of Holmes to solve the mystery.

Eco’s The Name of the Rose is a work of postmodern fiction which lends itself to an intertextual study because of the numerous allusions to other texts in the novel.

Reviewed by Hannah George