The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

In conversation with Glen David Gold
Co-sponsored by The Italian Cultural Institute
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Episode Summary
While he can remember the plot of every book he's ever read, the hero of Eco's raucous new novel no longer knows his own name.

Participant(s) Bio
Umberto Eco was born in 1932 in Alessandria, a small town in the Piedmont province of Italy. The town - Alessandria - was largely centered around a company that manufactured Borsalino hats, and being a Piedmontese town meant that the residents were born into a culture unique among those found in the rest of Italy. A mountainous area, the Piedmontese are used to a certain sense of independence, and in many ways they are marked by the phlegmatic nature of the nearby French rather than the fiery passions of the southern Italians. Eco often cites his upbringing among this culture as a source of the unique temperament in his writing: "Certain elements remain as the basis for my world vision: a skepticism and an aversion to rhetoric. Never to exaggerate, never to make bombastic assertions."