William of Baskervilles is an English monk visiting a rich Italian abbey on a political mission. Adso, the narrator, plays his Dr. Watson as William is asked to investigate a murder in the abbey. The monastery’s pious veneer is peeled back to reveal the dishonest and greedy motives beneath.
Eco’s slogan: “God is in the details.” He uses long lists to describe. Instead of writing “Adelmo’s illustrations portrayed imaginary creatures such as men with tooth-filled mouths in their bellies,” he tells us exactly what was on the page, in a sentence 207 words long.
Themes: loss of ideals, hypocrisy, possessions, poverty, temporality.