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An Umberto Eco (Ex Caelis Oblatus) Eleventary

“I love the smell of book ink in the morning.”  “There is nothing more wonderful than a list, that instrument of wondrous hypotyposis.” “A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection—not an invitation for hypnosis.” “Only publishers and television people believe that people crave easy experiences.” “I …

Umberto Eco: My Favorite Quotes


With the news that Umberto Eco’s newest novel is at last being prepared for publication in the US, I thought I’d assemble a few of my favorite quotes from his earlier books:


“We live for books.”

“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.”

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

“I love the smell of book ink in the morning.”

“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”

“Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big.”

“Books always speak of other books, and every story tells a story that has already been told.”

“Because learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do.”

“All poets write bad poetry. Bad poets publish them, good poets burn them.”

“To survive, you must tell stories.”

“Love is wiser than wisdom.”

“For every complex problem there’s a simple solution, and it’s wrong.”

“Any fact becomes important when it’s connected to another.”