Novelist and critic, born in Alessandria, N Italy. He studied at Turin University, has taught semiotics at the University of Bologne for many years, and published several important works on the subject.
His novel Il nome della rosa (1980, The Name of the Rose), an intellectual detective story, achieved instant fame, and attracted much critical attention; it was filmed in 1986. Later novels are Foucault’s Pendulum (trans, 1988), L’isola del giorno prima (1995, The Island of the Day Before), and Baudolino (2002). A collection of reworked lectures, On Literature, appeared in 2004.