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umberto eco: la bustina di minerva – l’espresso

Gigliola Sulis does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Minwrva our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons license.

Chronicles of a liquid societywhich originally was due to be published in May. The publication date was brought forward as a homage to the author, who died in Milan in February, aged The book is the first to be released by the new publishing house, La nave di Teseorecently co-founded by Eco himself in opposition to the merging of the two biggest Italian publishers, Mondadori owned by Berlusconi and Rizzoli.

The merger is seen by many intellectuals to be a threat to plurality and freedom of speech — and international writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Michael Cunningham and Tahar Ben Si have joined the La nave di Teseo project. Eco contributed both intellectually and financially to the founding of the new publisher.


The column was called La bustina di Minerva ; here not signifying the Roman goddess of wisdom but the humble object of the matchbox in Italy, Minerva is a common name for the safety matchan old brand name.

It symbolises a small space in which one jots down quick, extemporary notes. In his column, Eco either scrutinised current events or used them as starting points for digression, humorous anecdote, and wordplay.

The last book not read, on the intuition that has crossed our minds on the highway while braking in order to not end up in the back of a truck, on being and nothingness, on the famous steps of Fred Astaire. Internationally, Eco is known for his fiction, and especially the blockbuster crime novel Il nome della rosatranslated into English by William Weaver in as The Name of the Roseand made into a film by Jean-Jacques Annaud infeaturing Sean Connery in the leading role of Brother William of Baskerville.

La bustina di Minerva

Worldwide intellectuals and academics also recognise him as mknerva eminent scholar, particularly in the fields of medieval aesthetics, literary theory, and semiotics. But the way he zoomed into and commented on Italian culture meant that Eco was a key figure well beyond literature and philosophy. He was the first academic to give custom clearance to mass and popular minera, both with his studies and by contributing consciously to its production.

Already in the s, for example, while studying medieval aesthetics, he worked at the state broadcaster, RAIas one of the young intellectuals appointed to modernise TV and radio programmes. He mixed bustinz and popular culture without any sense of guilt, much to the chagrin of his academic peers. His omnivorous curiosity is particularly evident in his short pieces for the press, marked by a unique penchant for paradox and irony: Since social commentaries and irony are based on topicality, in order to enjoy them fully one needs to have some knowledge hustina Italian internal affairs.


He comments on the role of internet in the evolution of mass media and communication, on racism and integralisms, religion and philosophy. Right up to his final days, Eco never renounced the intellectual role of attempting to understand the changing social and cultural phenomena, guided by human curiosity and rationality, and always tempered with a good sense of humour.

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La Bustina Di Minerva

Available editions United States. Gigliola SulisUniversity of Leeds.

Journalism Satire Books Umberto Eco. Did you know that The Conversation is a nonprofit reader-supported global news organization? Become a Friend today.

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