The Best Umberto Eco quotes

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Umberto Eco is a famous Italian author, literary critic and philosopher who has published over 30 books. He was born in 1932 and died in 2016. His most popular book is The Name of The Rose. Some other books he wrote are Foucault’s Pendulum and Invisible Cities. He has won many prestigious awards such as the Premio Grinzane-Monti for literature, the Jerusalem Prize for his lifelong contribution to humanity, or the Strega Prize for best novel by an Italian writer.

Discover the deepest phrases from Umberto Eco.

Discover the most inspiring Believing, Novel, Books, Memory, Love, Time, Life, Truth quotes from Umberto Eco, and much more.


About Umberto Eco

birth of the author

5 January 1932

death of the author

19 February 2016

college of the author

Alma Mater:
University Of Turin

date of the author

20Th-/21St-Century Philosophy

country of the author

Western Philosophy

movement of the author

Continental Philosophy

occupation of the author

Main Interests:

knownfor of the author

Notable Ideas:
The Open Work, The Limits Of Interpretation


Books always speak of other books. β€” Umberto Eco

We live for books. β€” Umberto Eco

Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. β€” Umberto Eco

If somebody writes a book and doesn’t care for the survival of that book, he’s an imbecile. β€” Umberto Eco

books always speak of other books Umberto Eco quote

The good of a book lies in its being read. β€” Umberto Eco

I always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer is not aware of. β€” Umberto Eco

Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means… β€” Umberto Eco

Naturally, everything depends on one’s background books and on what one is looking for. β€” Umberto Eco

If people buy my books for vanity, I consider it a tax on idiocy. β€” Umberto Eco

we live for books Umberto Eco quote

I love the smell of book ink in the morning. β€” Umberto Eco

Books are menaced by books. Any excess of information produces silence. β€” Umberto Eco

The author may not interpret. But he must tell why and how he wrote his book. β€” Umberto Eco

I think a book should be judged 10 years later, after reading and re–reading it. β€” Umberto Eco

My collection of rare books concerns only books that don’t tell the truth. β€” Umberto Eco

books are not made to be believed but to be subjected to inquiry Umberto Eco quote

Thus I rediscovered what writers have always known (and have told us again and again): books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told. β€” Umberto Eco

We live for books. A sweet mission in this world dominated by disorder and decay. β€” Umberto Eco

When one starts writing a book, especially a novel, even the humblest person in the world hopes to become Homer. β€” Umberto Eco

After years of practice, I can walk into a bookstore and understand its layout in a few seconds. I can glance at the spine of a book and make a good guess at its content from a number of signs. β€” Umberto Eco

A dream is a scripture, and many scriptures are nothing but dreams. β€” Umberto Eco

if somebody writes a book and doesn t care for the survival of that book he s an imbecile Umberto Eco quote


Love is wiser than wisdom. β€” Umberto Eco

Simple mechanisms do not love. β€” Umberto Eco

How peaceful life would be without Love, Adso. How Safe. How Tranquil. And how Dull. β€” Umberto Eco

When the poet is in love, he is incapable of writing poetry on love. He has to write when he remembers that he was in love. β€” Umberto Eco

Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth. β€” Umberto Eco

love is wiser than wisdom Umberto Eco quote

I love the secrecy of writing fiction. When I write a novel, I don’t tell anybody what I’m doing. I’m living in my private world. And it’s a great sensation. β€” Umberto Eco

Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big. β€” Umberto Eco

He who falls in love in bars doesn’t need a woman all his own. He can always find one on loan. β€” Umberto Eco

The light in her eyes was beyond description, yet it did not instill improper thoughts: it inspired a love tempered by awe, purifying the hearts it inflamed. β€” Umberto Eco

I enjoyed your article, but I preferred my own. β€” Umberto Eco

simple mechanisms do not love Umberto Eco quote


What is life if not the shadow of a fleeting dream? β€” Umberto Eco

Our life is full of empty space. β€” Umberto Eco

That is a real attitude–to see everything as being meaningful, even the less important things, to prove something, even the greater problems of life. β€” Umberto Eco

I consider always the adult life to be the continuous retrieval of childhood. β€” Umberto Eco

I am not on Facebook and on Twitter because the purpose of my life is to avoid messages. I receive too many messages from the world, and so I try to avoid that. β€” Umberto Eco

what is life if not the shadow of a fleeting dream Umberto Eco quote

It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion. β€” Umberto Eco

I think that at a certain age, say fifteen or sixteen, poetry is like masturbation. But later in life good poets burn their early poetry, and bad poets publish it. Thankfully I gave up rather quickly. β€” Umberto Eco

Reflecting on these complex relationships between reader and story, fiction and life, can constitute a form of therapy against the sleep of reason, which generates monsters. β€” Umberto Eco

The function of memory is not only to preserve, but also to throw away. If you remembered everything from your entire life, you would be sick. β€” Umberto Eco

If you interact with things in your life, everything is constantly changing. And if nothing changes, you’re an idiot. β€” Umberto Eco

our life is full of empty space Umberto Eco quote

To survive, you must tell stories. β€” Umberto Eco


The truth is an anagram of an anagram. β€” Umberto Eco

Not bad, not bad at all,’ Diotallevi said. ‘To arrive at the truth through the painstaking reconstruction of a false text. β€” Umberto Eco

The only truths that are useful are instruments to be thrown away. β€” Umberto Eco

The truth is a young maiden as modest as she is beautiful, and therefore she is always seen cloaked. β€” Umberto Eco

the truth is an anagram of an anagram Umberto Eco quote

The only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth. β€” Umberto Eco

Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. β€” Umberto Eco

Redundant Thematics

In Umberto Eco Statements


To establish what is true is very difficult. Frequently it is easier to establish what is false. And, passing through the false, it’s possible to understand something about truth. β€” Umberto Eco

Yes, I know, it’s not the truth, but in a great history little truths can be altered so that the greater truth emerges. β€” Umberto Eco

True learning must not be content with ideas, which are, in fact, signs, but must discover things in their individual truth. β€” Umberto Eco

the only truths that are useful are instruments to be thrown away Umberto Eco quote


An idea you have might not be original. But by creating a novel out of that idea you can make it original. β€” Umberto Eco

I think of myself as a serious professor who, during the weekend, writes novels. β€” Umberto Eco

Since I became a novelist I have discovered that I am biased. Either I think a new novel is worse than mine and I don’t like it, or I suspect it is better than my novels and I don’t like it. β€” Umberto Eco

A novel is a machine for generating interpretations. β€” Umberto Eco

Narrativity presumes a special taste for plot. And this taste for plot was always very present in the Anglo–Saxon countries and that explains their high quality of detective novels. β€” Umberto Eco

i think of myself as a serious professor who during the weekend writes novels Umberto Eco quote

I feel that I am a scholar who only with the left hand writes novels. β€” Umberto Eco

Entering a novel is like going on a climb in the mountains: You have to learn the rhythms of respiration–acquire the pace. Otherwise you stop right away. β€” Umberto Eco

Conspiracies and all the theories of conspiracy are a part of the canon of fakes. And I’m involved, in all of my writings, the theoretical ones as well as the novels, with the production of fakes. β€” Umberto Eco

A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would have not written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations. β€” Umberto Eco

I don’t want to write a novel per year. I know that I need a break of one or two years. So maybe I invent some new, urgent activity so I don’t fall into the trap of starting a new novel. β€” Umberto Eco

a novel is a machine for generating interpretations Umberto Eco quote


Every man is obsessed by the memories of his own youth. β€” Umberto Eco

We are always remaking history. Our memory is always an interpretive reconstruction of the past, so is perspective. β€” Umberto Eco

You tell me these two were my parents, so now I know but it’s a memory that you’ve given me. I’ll remember the photo from now on, but not them. β€” Umberto Eco

This, in fact, is the power of the imagination, which, combining the memory of gold with that of the mountain, can compose the idea of a golden mountain. β€” Umberto Eco

New Orleans is not in the grip of a neurosis of a denied past; it passes out memories generously like a great lord; it doesn’t have to pursue ‘the real thing. β€” Umberto Eco

every man is obsessed by the memories of his own youth Umberto Eco quote

I have a good memory. But I would be interested in memory even if I had a bad memory, because I believe that memory is our soul. If we lose our memory completely, we are without a soul. β€” Umberto Eco


Daytime sleep is like the sin of the flesh; the more you have the more you want, and yet you feel unhappy, sated and unsated at the same time. β€” Umberto Eco

For many years I have devoted articles and essays to newspapers, from the inside. So criticism of the newspapers was a topic that I practiced for a long time. β€” Umberto Eco

It takes a little time, but the pleasures of cooking begin before the pleasures of the palate, and preparing means anticipating. β€” Umberto Eco

Love flourishes in expectation. Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity. β€” Umberto Eco

memory is a stopgap for humans for whom time flies and what is passed is passed Umberto Eco quote

And so I fell devoutly asleep and slept a long time, because young people seem to need sleep more than the old, who have already slept so much and are preparing to sleep for all eternity. β€” Umberto Eco

Memory is a stopgap for humans, for whom time flies and what is passed is passed. β€” Umberto Eco

A book is a fragile creature. It suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements, clumsy hands. β€” Umberto Eco

The belief that time is a linear, directed sequence running from A to B is a modern illusion. In fact, it can also go from B to A, the effect producing the cause. β€” Umberto Eco

What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. β€” Umberto Eco


Not that the incredulous person doesn’t believe in anything. It’s just that he doesn’t believe in everything. β€” Umberto Eco

You’ll come back To me . . . It’s written in the stars, you see, you’ll come back. You’ll come back, it’s a fact that I am strong because I do believe in you. β€” Umberto Eco

Followers of the occult believe in only what they already know, and in those things that confirm what they have already learned. β€” Umberto Eco

When men stop believing in God, it isn’t that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything. β€” Umberto Eco

If two things don’t fit, but you believe both of them, thinking that somewhere, hidden, there must be a third thing that connects them, that’s credulity. β€” Umberto Eco

I wrote a novel because I had a yen to do it. I believe this is sufficient reason to set out to tell a story. β€” Umberto Eco

I don’t know, maybe we’re always looking for the right place, maybe it’s within reach, but we don’t recognize it. Maybe to recognize it, we have to believe in it. β€” Umberto Eco

Man’s principle trait is a readiness to believe anything. Otherwise, how could the Church have survived for almost two thousand years in the absense of universal gullibility? β€” Umberto Eco

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom. β€” Umberto Eco

I believe that you can reach the point where there is no longer any difference between developing the habit of pretending to believe and developing the habit of believing. β€” Umberto Eco