Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Carol Armbruster (202) 707-8485

October 30, 1995

Umberto Eco Speaks at Library of Congress

Noted author Umberto Eco speaks at the Library of Congress on Nov. 8 as part of a series of lectures on "The Italian Influence on American Life," sponsored by the Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Division, the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute and the National Italian American Foundation.

The lecture, titled "An Author and His Interpreters," is free and open to the public. It begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Montpelier Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E.

Mr. Eco is best known in the United States for his novels, The Name of the Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, and the recently published The Island of the Day Before. Before he began work on his hugely successful novels, he wrote a number of scholarly works, some of which are being translated and published in England. He is also the author of a collection of essays, How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays (1994), which pokes fun at many of the absurdities of modern life, including computer jargon, airplane meals, bad coffee, overnight mail, fax machines, pornography and soccer fans.

A resident of Milan, Mr. Eco is a professor of semiotics, the study of communication through signs and symbols, at the University of Bologna. He is an avid book collector and owns more than 30,000 volumes.

The lecture series draws attention to the notable Italian collections of the Library of Congress, which are particularly strong in the period from the Renaissance to the present, and focuses on the contribution of Italy to American culture and customs, economic and social issues and government and public policy. Earlier speakers in the series were Adele Chatfield- Taylor, the president of the American Academy in Rome; authors Gay Talese and Jay Parini; Boris Biancheri, the Italian ambassador to the United States; and Paul Avrich, professor of history at the City University of New York.

The Italian Cultural Institute, Washington, D.C., organizes and supports programs highlighting the intellectual, artistic and scientific achievements of the Italian people. The National Italian American Foundation, also located in Washington, is an advocate for the nation's estimated 25 million Italian Americans.

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PR 95-150
ISSN 0731-3527

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