Noted author and scholar Umberto Eco, who passed away from a hermeneutic dysfunction, has left behind yet another text which nobody can understand. Unlike his novels and monographs, however, the final mysterious text is his last will and testament, which several people are strongly motivated to decipher.
“It’s some kind of amalgam of Latin, Sanskrit, and eighteenth-century Turkish thieves’ cant,” said a frustrated attorney at the firm handling Eco’s estate. “It’s quite lovely actually. Won the Viareggio Prize when it was first written. But as a legal document, it leaves something to be desired.”
Eco was known for pioneering the field of interpretive semiotics, as part of the Italian academic reform movement of the 1970s. Interpretive semiotics was intended as a means of providing employment for disenfranchised graduate students incapable of speaking clearly or navigating the world outside a university campus. As such, it was a remarkable success; by 2015, more than forty percent of all graduate students in Italy were engaged in attempting to figure out what the hell semiotics was about.
Eco accidentally earned international fame in 1984 when one of his novels, The Name of the Rose, inexplicably became a best-seller. The dense text, full of convoluted conspiracies set in a medieval monastery, looked perfectly lovely on coffee tables around the world.
Eco’s heirs are anxious to figure out what his will means, but experts say it will be many years before a true understanding may be reached.
“It’s analogous to sequencing the human genome, although Professor Eco’s theories are far more intricate than mere human DNA,” said Professor Maria Strega, of the University of Milan. “We think that with another twenty years and thirty billion euros we might be able to figure out who gets his stamp collection.”