In the early part of his career, Umberto Eco, focussed on the study of medieval aesthetics and was a highly respected authority in this field. He combined this with an in-depth knowledge of media culture, literary theory and semiotics (how people make meaning of events, themselves and their relationships). The depth and complexity of Eco's work has given him critical acclaim virtually everywhere he is published.
So it was with this unique academic pedigree that Eco produced his first novel in 1980. The Name of the Rose combined much of his academic understanding into a historical, detective novel. The book included allusions to the works of Kipling and Conan Doyle amongst others. Published in his native Italian initially, the book was translated into English in 1983 by William Weaver.
For those wanting to own a first edition of The Name of the Rose, auction prices can reach $700 for the original Weaver translation. The original Italian texts can reach over $2000. Eco published his second novel, Foucault's Pendulum, in 1988 with the English version coming just a year later. This translation is available as a first edition for $300 to $400.
Eco has a large body of non-fiction works that the collector may want to investigate. Translations into English are generally much later than the original Italian text with several decades separating their respective publication in some cases. This means that a 1988 first edition, English language version of The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas can easily be found for less than thirty dollars compared to several hundred dollars for the Italian text.
When collecting Eco's work, his original Italian first editions can be hard to locate; the English translations are easier to find and generally cost less. However for the keen collector, theItalian texts which may be of greater interest.
Eco, Umberto. L'Uomo e L'Arte; L'Arte Come Mestiere, L'Arte Come Invenzione. Bompiani, Milano (1972). Eco's two-volume set, L'Uomo e L'Arte (Man and Art) , consists of volume 1, L'Arte Come Mestiere / A Cura Di Umberto Eco and volume 2,L'Arte Come Invenzione / A Cura Di Eugenio Battisti;
Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York (1983). Translated by William Weaver;
Eco, Umberto. Postscript To The Name Of The Rose. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego (1984). Translated by William Weaver ;
Eco, Umberto. Travels In Hyperreality. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego (1986). translated into English by William Weaver
Eco, Umberto. The Bomb And The General. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego (1989). Illustrated by Eugenio Carmi; Translated by William Weaver ; First edition as stated with ABCDE line on copyright page
Eco, Umberto. The Three Astronauts. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego (1989). Translated from the original Italian language by William Weaver ;
Eco, Umberto. Misreadings. Jonathan Cape, London (1993). English translation by William Weaver ; Fifteen satirical essays
Eco, Umberto. How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays. Secker and Warburg, London (1994). Topics of the 41 satirical essays include militarism, computer jargon, Westerns, art criticism, librarians, bad coffee, fax machines, and telegrams; A translation of Il Secondo Diario minimo from the original Italian by William Weaver
Eco, Umberto. The Island Of The Day Before. Harcourt Brace , New York (1995). Translated from the Italian by William Weaver; 250 copies
Eco, Umberto. Serendipities Language and Lunacy. Columbia University Press, New York (1998). Translated from the Italian by William Weaver First Edition
Eco, Umberto. Kant and the Platypus. Harcourt Brace , New York (2000). Translated from the Italian by Alastair McEwen;