Answer :

(By Mukund Padmanabhan, Interviewer)

Umberto Eco, a professor at the University of Bologna in Italy and a well-known novelist, was interviewed last week. Apart from his scholarly works on Semiotics, literary interpretation and medieval aesthetics, his works also include literary fiction, academic texts, essays, children’s books and newspaper articles.

What sets him apart from other scholarly writers is his depersonalized and informal approach that makes his style interesting and hence more appealing. Instead of writing formal essays, he prefers creative and narrative writings, while telling the stories of his research.

In the interview, he explained his secret about his ability to do catch up with so many things in time. According to him, he works in between the empty spaces that he calls ‘interstices’. The time we generally waste while waiting for someone or doing something similarly unproductive, he actively utilizes it to finish his work.

Even though he is popularly known as a novelist, Umberto Eco still considers himself as an academic scholar. He proudly proclaims that he has done over 40 scholarly works and often participates in academic conferences instead of pen clubs and writers. He even said that he is a ‘university professor who writes novels on Sundays.’

On being asked about the reason behind the huge success of his famous novel ‘The Name of the Rose’, he said that it is still a mystery to him. Nobody including him and his publishers thought that a serious novel like this can achieve these heights.

The Writer was seen to be a lively soul who answered all questions with enthusiasm. He did not hesitate while revealing his personal schedules and working secrets.

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