The order that our mind imagines is like a net, or like a ladder, built to attain something. But afterward you must throw the ladder away, because you discover that, even if it was useful, it was meaningless.
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose.
This was my third book-length translation of a work by Umberto Eco and, though shorter than the previous two, my task was more complex for reasons I hope to illustrate. As always I could rely on Eco’s amiability and enthusiasm in the translation process, though we met to discuss the book only twice—first, before the Italian edition had been published, and then, after I had completed the translation, to resolve outstanding problems before I submitted the finished manuscript to the publishers.
The first of these meetings took place at Eco’s summer home in the Apennines, just over an hour’s drive from where I live. Mario Andreose and Drenka Willen, his Italian and American editors, were there for a few days in summer 2014, and I was invited across o...