Umberto Eco: Heavyweight champion

From the Telegraph:

Eco‘Mooo! Mooo!’ Umberto Eco says by way of opening when I meet him in his high-ceilinged apartment overlooking the piazza Castello in Milan.

‘I’m supposed to do this exercise for my throat,’ the 73-year-old Italian philosopher and novelist explains. ‘Mooo! Mooo! I had an operation on my vocal chords and am still recovering.’ I tell him I will understand if he needs to rest his voice during our interview, or indeed if he needs to moo from time to time.

Though he has a paunch and unexpectedly small, geisha-like feet, Eco has an energetic stride – as I discover when he leads the way along a winding corridor and I try to keep up with him. We pass through a labyrinthine library containing 30,000 books – he has a further 20,000 at his 17th-century palazzo near Urbino – and into a drawing-room full of curiosities: a glass cabinet containing seashells, rare comics and illustrated children’s books, a classical sculpture of a nude man with his arms missing, a jar containing a pair of dog’s testicles, a lute, a banjo, a collection of recorders, and a collage of paintbrushes by his friend the Pop artist Arman.

Although Eco is still best known for his first novel, The Name of the Rose (1980), a medieval murder mystery that sold ten million copies, it is as an academic that he would like to be remembered…

More here.