Why did Umberto Eco start writing novels and when? What does Eco say about the huge success of his Novel ‘The name of the Rose’ in spite of it being a difficult and very serious novel?

Umberto Eco was essentially an academician who pursued his scholarly pursuits through academic writings. He wrote about forty non-fictions and as he himself says, ‘he became a novelist by accident’. That was the reason he started writing novels at the age of almost fifty. Eco considers himself a ‘university professor who writes novels on Sundays’. He is not even very sure about any one single reason for the huge success of his novel ‘The name of the Rose’. He feels, perhaps the timing of the novel’s publication was the most important factor of its success. The fact that at one level it appears to be a detective yarn but also delves into metaphysics, theology and mediaeval history that adds to its appeal. Though, the novel is quite heavy reading experience, it attracted a mass audience and made Eco popular more as a novelist rather than an academic scholar.

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