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October 23, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE NAME OF THE ROSE by Umberto Eco, translated from the Italian by William Weaver (Harcourt, Brace: $10.95; 536 pp.). This new edition of Eco's brilliant murder mystery cum dialogue between Faith and Reason includes the Postscript, in which the author discusses its creation. With typical aplomb, Eco hops among references, from medieval romances and Dante's mystic rose to "Too Many Rings Around Rosie" from "No, No Nanette." In the 11 years that have elapsed since the English translation appeared, "Rose" has lost none of its appeal, and William of Baskerville's warning against fanatics sounds more timely than ever: "The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them."

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