Com­mem­o­rat­ing one of Italy’s great­est thinkers − Um­berto Eco

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

The Isti­tuto Ital­iano di Cul­tura joined forces with three de­part­ments within the Fac­ulty of Arts, Univer­sity of Malta, to com­mem­o­rate one of Italy’s great­est thinkers, Um­berto Eco. Prof. Glo­ria Lauri-Lu­cente, head of De­part­ment of Ital­ian and deputy dean of the Fac­ulty of Arts, Prof. Clare Vas­sallo, As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor at the De­part­ment of Trans­la­tion, Ter­mi­nol­ogy and In­ter­pret­ing Stud­ies and Dr Jean Paul De Lucca, lec­turer within the De­part­ment of Phi­los­o­phy, joined the direc­tor of the Isti­tuto Ital­iano di Cul­tura, Dr Sal­va­tore Schirmo in dis­cussing some of Eco’s work in an in­ter­dis­ci­plinary en­vi­ron­ment.

Dr Schirmo thanked the de­part­ments in­volved in the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the event which en­deav­oured to re­mem­ber Eco through a closer look at his work as a writer, an aca­demic, a philoso­pher, a po­lit­i­cal and so­cial critic, as well as a bib­lio­phile.

Dr De Lucca talked about Eco, the philoso­pher, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on the con­cept of time. In dis­cussing Eco’s fas­ci­na­tion with time, Dr De Lucca con­tex­tu­alised his con­cepts of tem­po­ral­ity, es­pe­cially through his­tory. Although he was not an apoc­a­lyp­tic thinker and was not averse to tech­nol­ogy, he was a strong critic of so­ci­ety and also strongly be­lieved that books would never be­come ex­tinct. Eco’s many col­lec­tions of es­says, in par­tic­u­lar, show the full ex­tent of his life­long en­gage­ment with phi­los­o­phy and its his­tory.

Fol­low­ing Dr De Lucca, Prof. Clare Vas­sallo, gave a heart­felt ac­count of Um­berto Eco, the man and pro­fes­sor. Hav­ing been one of Eco’s stu­dents at Bologna Univer­sity, Prof. Vas­sallo de­scribed how her men­tor al­ways loved to spend time with his stu­dents to dis­cuss the most di­verse and wide-rang­ing of sub­jects. His doc­toral stu­dents would join Eco at one of his favourite cafe­te­rias and con­tinue dis­cussing the topic of the day long af­ter the lec­ture had ended. Prof. Vas­sallo also added that Um­berto Eco was not only the first Pro­fes­sor of Semi­otics in Italy but he also set up the de­gree pro­gramme of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sciences and founded the Ad­vanced School of Hu­man­is­tic Stud­ies.

The morn­ing ses­sion was fol­lowed by a screen­ing of JeanJac­ques An­naud’s ac­claimed In the Name of the Rose. The movie was in­tro­duced by Prof. Lau­riLu­cente who spoke about the trans­po­si­tion from novel to book as a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­am­ple of trans­for­ma­tion, thanks to the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts of An­naud him­self, the set de­signer Dante Fer­retti and the direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy, Tonino Delle Colli. Prof. Lauri-Lu­cente added that the novel was a tes­ta­ment to Eco’s love of books, with its numer­ous al­lu­sions to other lit­er­ary works. An in­ter­est­ing ex­am­ple of ci­ta­tion­al­ity is the lead char­ac­ter’s name; Wil­liam of Baskerville, a def­i­nite nod to Sher­lock Holmes, whose de­duc­tive method Wil­liam also em­u­lates.

The or­gan­is­ers ended the event by thank­ing the au­di­ence and by an­nounc­ing that this is but the be­gin­ning of more in­ter­dis­ci­plinary col­lab­o­ra­tions.

Prof. Glo­ria Lauri-Lu­cente (left) with Dr Sal­va­tore Schirmo, direc­tor of the Ital­ian Cul­tural In­sti­tute

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