February 25, 2016

Umberto Eco’s final book to be released this week


Following Umberto Eco‘s passing last week, the publication of his final book has been pushed up from May to this Friday, February 26th. Titled Pape Satàn Aleppe: Chronicles of a Liquid Society, the book is being published by La Nave di Teseo, a company that Eco helped fund due to fears of a publishing monopoly in Italy.

La Nave di Teseo announced the soon-to-be released title on Twitter:

La Nave di Teseo announce the publication of Eco's final book.

Sian Cain at The Guardian reports:

Eco’s publisher La Nave di Teseo is a new publishing house that formed because notable writers, including Eco, feared the creation of a monopoly in Italian publishing after publishing company Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, owned by the family of former Italian prime minister and billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, bought book publisher RCS Libri in 2015. Eco personally donated €2m to help fund La Nave di Teseo, while Arnoldo Mondadori Editore now has a market share of around 38% of book publishing in Italy.

The title of the book is a reference to Dante‘s The Divine Comedy. The Guardian writes that, “the line is famous for puzzling translators, with modern academics believing it is a demonic invocation.” According to the publisher, it is “sufficiently liquid to characterise the confusion of our times.” Per The Guardian:

In an interview with la Repubblica on Monday, head of La Nave di Teseo Elisabetta Sgarbi called the new book “an ironic book, as withering as he was” and said Eco was “a tireless worker”.

“I really cannot think of Umberto in the past … In Via Jacini, in our home, we hoped to see him work again,” she said. “Just today I found a drawing dedicated to ‘Alamo’, a name that we thought to give to the publisher, then discarded.”

The publication of an English translation has not yet been announced.



Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.