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研究生(外文):Hsui Hao-ku
論文名稱(外文):Reading The Name of the Rose in the Light of Walter Benjamin: Reflection, Form and Content
指導教授(外文):Hanping Chiu
外文關鍵詞:early German RomanticsGoetheCritiquecriticismmaterial contenttruth content
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Written by the well-known Italian semiotician Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose is a contemporary retelling of past events. Of its three constituting parts, the first is a manuscript supposedly written by Adso of Melk, a Benedictine novice in the fourteenth century. The second, devoted to the theory of laughter and comedy, is attributed to Aristotle. The third is a foreword presumably composed by an anonymous narrator in the twentieth century. These three documents, when put together, reveal the uncertainty of historical knowledge and the impossibility of tracing back to the origin. Supposedly narrated by Adso of Melk is a so-called postmodern detective story which, unlike the Sherlock Holmes’s series, doesn’t provide a clear-cut solution to the mystery surrounding the murder cases. William of Baskerville, whose name is reminiscent of a well-known Sherlock Holms story, fails to find out the ultimate cause of the serial killings and thus concludes that each crime was “committed by a different person, or by no one” (NR 492). In the course of their inquiry, William and Adso find that a series of murders were closely related to one mysterious manuscript written by Aristotle, the second part of Poetics devoted to the theory of laughter and comedy. Jorge, the blind aged monk in that Benedictine abbey, fearing that this manuscript of Aristotle would destroy the learning that Christianity had accumulated for centuries, decided to hide the manuscript in Aedificium, the mysterious big library, so that the book would be reckoned as never been written. The foreword also points to the impossibility of locating the origin. No matter how hard he has tried, as the twentieth-century narrator says, he fails to prove the authenticity of Adso’s manuscript. As he asserts in his comment, this memoirs of Adso “shares the nature of the events he narrates” and is “shrouded in many, shadowy mysteries, beginning with the identity of the author and ending with the abbey’s location, about which Adso is stubbornly, scrupulously silent” (NR 3). What is revealed from the three documents is the impossibility of reaching the origin of historical knowledge.
Considering, on the one hand, the special character of each manuscript─the uncertainty of historical knowledge and the impossibility of tracing back to the origin, and, on the other, the prospects explored by critics before─the issues of theology, philosophy, eroticism, homosexuality, laughter and the reconstruction of Aristotle’s manuscript, I think that would turn out to be a new way of reading The Name of the Rose with the methodology of reading─to balance the artwork, form and content─proposed by Walter Benjamin, which is developed from two of his articles, “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism” and “Goethe’s Elective Affinities,” in order to find out some other possible interpretation of this novel. To elaborate in his discussion, Benjamin formulates his idea─a play and a dialectics of reflection, form and content─in one sentence, “Critique seeks the truth content of a work of art; commentary, its material content,” together with his discussion on politics among the author, the artwork, and its reader (“GEA” 297). So my attempt to read The Name of the Rose in the light of Walter Benjamin is to comprise and to reconfigure past commentaries that are directed to the novel, and to transform them into a new critique, and by the help of which, the truth content of the novel─how past distorts, interferes, realizes and imbricates with present-ness of the now─would be hopefully excavated.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Chapter I Reflection, Form and Content 14
Chapter II Truth Content of The Name of the Rose 55
Conclusion 78
Works Cited 95

Works Cited
Barthes, Roland. “The Discourse of History.” Trans. And Introd. Bann, Stephen. Comparative Criticism: A Yearbook. 3 (1981): 3-20.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism.” Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1913-1926. Ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge: Belknap, 1999. 116-200.
---. Illuminaitons. Ed. And intro. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken, 1968.
---. “Goethe’s Elective Affinities.” Vol. 1, 1913-1926. Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1913-1926. Ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge: Belknap, 1999. 297-360.
---. “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Illuminations. 253-264.
---. Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Vol. 1, 1913-1926. Ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings. Cambridge: Belknap , 1999.
Brooke-Rose, Christine. “Palimpsest History.” Stories, Theories, Things. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 181-90.
Cannon, JoAnn. Postmodern Italian Fiction: The Crisis of Reason in Calvino, Eco, Sciascia, Malerba. London: Associated UP, 1989.
Coletti, Theresa. Naming the Rose: Eco, Medieval Signs, and Modern Theory. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.
Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Trans. William Weaver. London: Vintage, 1998.
---. Postscript to The Name of the Rose. Trans. William Weaver. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984.
Foucault, Michel. “Human Nature: Justice Versus Power.” Foucault and His Interlocutors. Ed. Davidson, Arnold I. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1997.
Flieger, Verlyn. “The Name, the Thing, the Mystery” in Georgia Review 38.1 (1984): 178-181.
Golden, Leon. “Eco’s Reconstruction of Aristotle’s Theory of Comedy in The Name of the Rose.” Classical and Modern Literature: a Quarterly. 6.4 (1986): 239-249.
Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. London: Verso, 1991.
Lyotard, Jean Francois. The Postmodern Condition: a Report on Knowledge. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. And foreword by Fredric Jameson. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1984.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. The Will to Power. Trans. And Edited. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 1967.
Rushdie, Salman. Shame. London: Jonathan Cape, 1985.

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