Umberto Eco is President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici at the University of Bologna and author of many books, most recently 
How to Write a Thesis.

Murder in Chicago

On May 21, 1991, Ioan Culianu, a young (forty-one) and brilliant professor of the history of religion at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, stepped into the stall of the restroom of his department. Someone in the adjoining stall climbed onto the toilet seat, aimed a Beretta .25 …

Ur-Fascism

In 1942, at the age of ten, I received the First Provincial Award of Ludi Juveniles (a voluntary, compulsory competition for young Italian Fascists—that is, for every young Italian). I elaborated with rhetorical skill on the subject “Should we die for the glory of Mussolini and the immortal destiny of …

A Case for Textual Harassment

These days, especially in the United States, implacable copy editors demand of authors not only stylistic revisions but even changes in plot, new endings, whatever commercial necessity dictates. But when we Italians recall the summary way the novelist-editor Elio Vittorini dealt with young writers some decades ago, can we honestly …

On ‘Krazy Kat’ and ‘Peanuts’

George Herriman’s Krazy Kat came into existence around 1910–1911 and ended in 1944 with the death of the author. The dramatis personae were three: a cat of unspecified sex, probably female; a mouse, Ignatz; a dog acting as policeman, Offissa Pupp. The drawing was remarkable, with certain surrealistic inventions, especially …