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Umberto Eco is arguably best known for his novel The Name of the Rose yet there is much more to him than simply being an exemplary novelist. Semiotician, literary and media critic, philosopher and historian, Umberto Eco is one of the greatest and most original thinkers working today. He has contributed to many fields and is one of a handful of writers who can claim to be a key public intellectual in Europe. This has made it extraordinarily difficult for commentators to place him in the Western tradition of social thought. This is especially so, because there is a playful quality in his work, exemplified above all by his use of skills and techniques from semiotics, the philosophy of language, medieval life and thought and aesthetics and techniques that he employed to great affect in The Name of the Rose. He has also made seminal contributions in thinking on postmodern developments in culture and epistemology. This collection provides an unrivalled overview of his writings and includes a selection from considerations of his contribution to semiotics, literary theory, philosophy of language, the analysis of fiction and narratives, his novels, his critiques of mass culture and communication and his contributions to the theory of laughter, politics and ethics. The result is the most complete assessment of Eco's contribution and its impact on social, cultural and critical thought. Mike Gane is Professor of Sociology at the University of Loughborough; Nicholas Gane is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communications at Brunel University, London.

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