Umberto Eco (b. 1932) is an Italian essayist, novelist and semiologist. Emeritus professor at the University of Bologna, eclectic intellectual and eminent medievalist, he has written a great many essays on linguistics, mass communication and philosophy. But it is his novels, beginning with The Name of the Rose, that have made him a household name. Eco writes a bimonthly column column for L'Espressoand regularly contributes to La Repubblica and other major European dailies.