Thursday, June 7, 2012

Return to Arrakis

So I've been reading Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) to satisfy my Sherlock cravings. (I recast it, though, hope that doesn't offend anyone. [nevermind, never you mind who is who...]) It is an intellectual mystery wherein the author assumes the reader is comfortable with stretches of Latin (check), French (une petit) and Italian (niente affatto). They are all thrown together pell-mell whilst I do my best to recall anything that remains of my past studies. Yikes. The story is gripping though and there's enough English that I can keep up.

I only know one person who has read this: my friend Josh. He knows I'm trying to read it. Yet, yesterday he went out and bought the next Dune book for me. So much for improving my romance languages. I'm about halfway through Heretics of Dune as of tonight. And I'll read a bit more before bed.

11 comments:

  1. I promise, the solution to the mystery in the Name of the Rose is novel...you will probably never forget it (I haven't and it has been at least 20 years since I read it). Anyway, at this rate you will be back on it before the end of the weekend.

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    1. I'll never forget it... if I understand it in the first place. The fact that it's an "intellectual mystery" kinda makes it hard for me, languages aside, oh thou master's degree holder. ;)

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    2. Sorry, not going to convince me that I am smarter than you...not in this life.

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    3. Even though you had to point out that it was "at least 20 years" ago when you were a young man of 14...

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    4. Hey, I actually read it out of laziness. We had this thing where you had to read something like 1,000 pages by the end of the year. So I picked this and Moby Dick and I was done (I think that's how it worked, maybe Poseidon Adventure was in there, too).

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  2. It took me MONTHS to get through that damn book! I was mostly reading it on my lunchbreaks in my old office, and three different co-workers saw me reading it and said "oh my god I tried reading that and just gave up!" It's a pretty hard slog but you'll be proud when you finish it.

    I'm currently reading War and Peace, and it's WAY easier! Alebit way longer...seven months and counting!

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    1. PS: I found Umberto Eco's 'The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana' infinitely more enjoyable :)

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    2. Ok, I haven't read War and Peace yet. I've been a bit intimidated by Tolstoy (although I love Dostoyevsky), but if you say it is more accessible than Eco.... What translation?

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    3. Uh...[rummages in bag, pulls out brick-of-a-book] Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude - apparently theirs translation received Tolstoy's approval.

      Page 650 and counting!

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  3. I studied Italian at university and spent some time in Italy. While I was there I decided to only read books in Italian (I also read A Room with a View, which although it isn't originally written in Italian is set in Florence and the surrounding countryside, which is where I lived, so a perfect read. Also it allowed me to imagine Julian Sands AND Daniel Day Lewis were lusting over me, so you know...yeah). ANYWAY, genius me decided that Il Nome della Rosa would be a perfect read, without knowing that it's all written in the most convoluted phrasing and little-used verb tenses. I felt like getting through that book was an extra language course in itself. However, since I was in the process of studying for a double honours in Italian and history of art with a focus on the medieval era, it was pretty much the perfect and most awesome book of all time for me. Also, bonus that it is so full of detail and takes so long to get through that if you enjoy it, you can pretty much start rereading it immediately and discover something new about it.

    I always recommend anyone who liked the film to try the book; it is so much richer than the film (plus as you say, you can always recast in your head!)

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    1. I love A Room with a View! So much better to read the book because you get more time with those lovely men :)

      The fact that you -a student of Italian- found this book difficult, makes me feel a little better. I will persevere. I will prevail! And it is really good for me to brush up on my Latin!

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