Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose is a brilliant mystery set in a fictitious medieval monastery. The text is rich with literary, historical, and theoretical references that make it eminently re-readable. The Key makes each reading fuller and more meaningful by helping the interested reader not merely to read but also to understand Eco's masterful work. Inspired by pleas from friends and strangers, the authors, each trained in Classics, undertook to translate and explain the Latin phrases that pepper the story. They have produced an approachable, informative guide to the book and its setting--the middle ages. The Key includes an introduction to the book, the middle ages, Umberto Eco, and philosophical and literary theories; a useful chronology; and reference notes to historical people and events.
The clear explanations of the historical setting and players will be useful to anyone interested in a general introduction to medieval history.
Adele J. Haft is Associate Professor of Classics, Hunter College, City University of New York. Jane G. White is chair of the Department of Languages, Dwight Englewood School. Robert J. White is Professor of Classics and Oriental Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York. [via]