San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. 1st US Edition. Octavo, publisher's cream cloth over brown paper-covered boards, spine and upper board gilt, illustrated endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
Inscribed first edition in English of renowned Italian semiotician Eco's bestselling meta-historical murder mystery. The Name of the Rose takes as its background the doctrine of evangelical poverty, derived from Luke 10, which equates the lack of property with holiness. This was an especially divisive idea in the 14th-century, when the Church, determined to protect its wealth and land ownership, condemned the Franciscans for their heretical upholding of the doctrine. Eco's novel professes to be a contemporary translation of a 19th-century French translation of an original 14th-century Latin manuscript, in which a series of lurid murders at an Italian monastery, curiously timed before the heresy trial, sets off an investigation that will determine the future of the Franciscan order. "There is a kind of novel that changes our mind, replaces our reality with its own. We live in a new world after we've read it. Umberto Eco...brings us a new world in the tradition of Rabelais, Cervantes, Sterne, Melville, Dostoevsky, Joyce himself, and Garcia-Marquez" (LA Times). Inscribed on the half-title, "To Roslyn & Bill from Umberto Eco NY June 83." Roslyn Targ was a literary agent who specialized in foreign rights (among her clients were Italo Calvino, Simone de Beauvoir, and Chester Himes); her husband William was a noted editor and bibliophile, whose great claim to fame was the acquisition of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather for G.P. Putnam's Sons. First printing, with letter row on copyright page beginning with B (as was the publisher's custom from 1973-83). Originally published in Italy in 1980. Upper corners gently banged; unclipped dust jacket with several small chips and closed tears to edges, cello-tape repair to lower flap-fold, and light rubbing. A very good copy, with an excellent association. Item #534