'''Umberto Eco''' (1932 - 2016) was an Italian medieval historian, semiotician (semiotics: the study of signs and signification[[note]]If Creator/DanBrown's fictional discipline of "symbology" were real, it would fall within the field of semiotics.[[/note]]), and philosopher. Outside academia, he is best known as a novelist, particularly his debut novel, ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'', which was made into a film starring SeanConnery.

Because of his background, his works tend to avoid SmallReferencePools and ViewersAreMorons--only to go right through to the other side, invoking ViewersAreGeniuses instead. His novels abound in [[BilingualBonus language games]], [[ShownTheirWork meticulously researched]] history and more than a little philosophizing. Basically, he's the polar opposite of Creator/DanBrown: a knowledgeable and skillful writer whose fiction is well researched, and full of genuine historical, narrative, and cultural intrigue, but who never [[DanBrowned pretends that his novels are anything more]] than stimulating intellectual entertainment. In fact, he once humorously mused, in [[http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5856/the-art-of-fiction-no-197-pauleacute-baacutertoacuten The Paris Review]], that Dan Brown might as well have stepped out the pages of his book ''Foucault's Pendulum''.

He listed {{Western}} tropes in a 1975 comic essay "How to Play Indians". He also wrote an essay in 1984 about tropes called "Casablanca: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage", which ends with what might as well have been to a reference to TVTropes, describing a possible future in which [[ViewersAreGeniuses viewers and artists]] are all equally aware of the universe of tropes and spend their time recognizing them and using them to communicate.[[note]]Après nous, le déluge.[[/note]]

He died in 2016 at the age of 84.
!!List of Novels
* ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose''
* ''Literature/FoucaultsPendulum''
* ''The Island of the Day Before''
* ''Literature/{{Baudolino}}''
* ''Literature/TheMysteriousFlameOfQueenLoana''
* ''Literature/ThePragueCemetery''
* ''Numero Zero''

!!List of non-fiction
* ''Why Read The Classics'', an book by book discussion on many of Western Canon's works.
* ''Turning Back the Clock'', a collection of essays, mostly dealing with current events of TheNoughties.

!!List of children's books
* ''The Bomb and the General''
* ''The Three Astronauts''
* ''The Gnomes of Gnu''

!!Tropes pertaining to his work in general

* BerserkButton: Apparently, a sure-fire way of getting thrown out of his lectures is to quote his own works to him.
* BilingualBonus: In some novels, it's almost necessary to understand three or four languages.
* {{Bookworm}}: Has a ''50,000'' volume library. The protagonist of the ''Mysterious Flame'' also counts.
* CoolOldGuy
* ConsummateLiar: Baudolino
* DirectLineToTheAuthor: As a postmodernist, he has a thing for the thin, blurry line between historical documents and outright fiction. Hence, some of his works purport to be genuine, yet unrecorded history:
** ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose'' has a prologue on how he "found" Adso's manuscript in the 1960s.
** ''The Island of the Day Before'' is him commenting on a mysterious manuscript written by Roberto della Griva recovered from the InUniverse lost ship ''The Daphne''.
** ''Literature/{{Baudolino}}'' alleges to be [[spoiler: a DeletedScene of sorts from the real Niketas's chronicles, which he removed on the advice of the sage Paphnutius. However, Paphnutius tells Niketas that one day, an even greater liar than Baudolino will tell the ostensibly true story of Baudolino reciting his fictional tale to Niketas, i.e. Umberto Eco himself.]]
* DownerEnding: Yambo [[spoiler: finds the First Folio--then ''dies''.]]
* DwindlingParty: Baudolino went to search for the kingdom of Prester John with 11 other people. By the end of the book, only three remain of his group.
* EverythingsBetterWithPlatypi: His essay Kant and the Platypus, despite acknowledging that Kant has nothing to do with the platypus.
* HeroicBSOD: Baudolino, after he finds out that [[spoiler: he and his friends unwittingly killed Frederick.]]
* HistoricalDomainCharacter:
** His works commonly feature real historical figures (sometimes lesser-known ones), like Bernard Gui, Ubertino of Casale and Michael of Cesena in ''The Name of the Rose'', and Frederick Barbarossa, Niketas Choniates, Robert de Boron or Otto of Freising in ''Baudolino''.
** An excellent recent example of his usage of this trope in his fiction would be his novel ''The Prague Cemetary'', in which an early scene calls for the antisemitic VillainProtagonist Simonini to converse with a Jewish psychiatrist during his time in Paris. Upon realizing that Simonini's time in Paris coincided with a period of UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud's life spent in Paris, Eco researched the restaurants and cafes Freud frequented at this time to provide his characters with a plausible meeting place.
* UsefulNotes/InternationalDateLine: Plays a big role in ''The Island of the Day Before'', where the protagonist believes he is stuck near one side of it.
* {{Irony}}: He has a good explanation in his comment for ''Literature/TheNameOfTheRose''. Nowadays, a man who loves a well-read woman can't simply tell her "I love you more than my life", because he knows (and she knows, and [[IKnowYouKnowIKnow he knows she knows, and she knows he knows she knows...]]) that these words have been overused by Liala (Italian author of Silly Love Novels). That's why he'll say instead: "As Liala would say, 'I love you more than my life'." It's ironic because we live in times where innocence has been lost, but it's still a way to talk about love.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Yambo cannot remember anything to do with his personal life, but recalls everything he's ever read.
* LockedRoomMystery: The death of Emperor Frederick in ''Baudolino''.
** Eco's fascinated with this trope, and it shows up as a major or minor plot point in pretty much [[OnceAnEpisode every novel he's written]].
* UsefulNotes/TheLongitudeProblem: In ''The Island of the Day Before''. It contains a number of different attempts to solve the longitude problem, including one that uses SympatheticMagic (the theory is that a wounded dog is taken on the ship; the sympathetic magic is performed on the dog every night at midnight in Paris; by watching the dog's reaction and noting the local time, you can figure out your longitude much as with the "clock" method).
* MagicalLand: The kingdom of Prester John in ''Baudolino''.
* NeverHeardThatOneBefore: In one essay in ''How To Travel With A Salmon'', he writes how many times he was told puns based one the similarity of his name and the word "echo". He states that the reason for this is that people who have an idea don't realize that other people already must have thought of that.
* NoNameGiven: The Archpoet in ''Baudolino'', because he's based on a historical character whose name is unknown.
* {{Omniglot}}: Baudolino. Yambo. [[strike:Probably]] Eco himself.
* {{Postmodernism}}: In the critical, academic sense.
* PretenderDiss: When asked if he considers DanBrown his literary heir, he once responded that the difference is that while he himself writes ''about'' conspiracy theories, DanBrown simply repeats them - "as such, he's probably not my heir, but maybe my bastard."
* RealityRetcon:
** ''Foucault's Pendulum'': InUniverse, with the editors constructing a fake conspiracy.
** ''Baudolino'': A 12th century foster son of Frederick Barbarossa secretly shaped the events in his life.
** ''The Prague Cemetary'': Simone Simonini crosses paths and influences many historical characters, culminating in his creation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
** ''Numero Zero'': Involves shady plots during the Years of Lead, including the Masonic "Black" Lodge Propaganda Due, right- and left-wing terrorists, the CIA, the papacy, and sensationalist journalism.
* ShoutOut: Lots in The Mysterious Flame due to Yambo's illness.
* ShownTheirWork: His ''novels'' come with footnotes, glossaries and bibliographies.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Occasional examples are found in his non-fiction works.
* TakeThat: The one at the end of ''Baudolino'' stands out.
* TitleDrop: ''The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana'' was a name of a comic book the main character found in their childhood home.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: To give some illustration of the ''sheer magnitude'' of the permeation of this trope through his fiction, Foucault's Pendulum requires at least a modest familiarity with the conception of God in Kabbalah in order to understand the book's narrative arrangement; and though Kabbalah is hardly the most obscure of topics - and certainly not the most obscure form of knowledge required to understand Foucault's Pendulum -, this novel requires substantial reading into a major world mystic/faith tradition ''merely to understand its chapter layout''.
* UnreliableNarrator: By the end of ''Literature/FoucaultsPendulum'', Casaubon doubts his own sanity, and questions how much is true of what he had seen. In ''Baudolino'', the protagonist admits that he's a great liar and deceived many people, so the veracity of his story also can be questioned, especially since it gets more and more outlandish as it progresses.
* WordSaladTitle: Prefers titles of this nature.
* YouAreWhatYouHate: Could be the case with Eco and occultism. While he savagely criticizes the occultists and conspiracy theorists, he himself shows interest and expert knowledge in such matters (most of his works feature this to some extent, especially Foucault's Pendulum).