As I started reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, I had no idea what to expect. The front matter and first day of the book took some time and re-reading for me to comprehend it well. Eco throws a lot of information at readers in the beginning, including a lot of historical background that’s necessary to understand the context behind the story. As I mentioned in our Canvas discussions, it took some re-reading for me to comprehend what was going on around the main characters and why that was important.
It also took some time for me to adjust to the way that one of the main characters, William of Baskerville, talks. He is very wise and talks in a somewhat philosophical way, so sometimes I had to re-read his dialogue. Adso, the narrator, also gave descriptions of his different observations that were full of detail and imagery. His descriptions definitely helped paint a picture in my head, but that also took some time because he gave so details.
Eco’s novel is definitely not something you can breeze through. It takes some time and effort to understand, but the plot of William and Adso investigating a suspicious death at a monastery is very interesting. We also start to see how manuscripts play a role in the novel during the first day. As William and Adso investigate Adelmo’s desk, they find elaborate illustrations on his manuscripts, which caused controversy among the monks. The library is also kept under close guard and seems to be a source of controversy, so it will be interesting to see what William and Adso uncover as they conduct their investigation.
Source: Eco; Front Matter & First Day