Eco and EU Culture. “The language of Europe is translation”


by Sérgio Maia Tavares Marques, Managing Editor

Umberto Eco passed away this week but his words shall remain very much alive. Apart from his literary and semiology brilliance, Eco was an accurate observer of the European reality. For him, the Erasmus Programme is a sexual revolution that makes us all Europeans. A sort of spirit we can sense from – and that moved Bertolucci into his piece – The Dreamers.

He was supportive of the integration since his early days as he believed in the fundamental unity of the European culture. Moreover, he stated: “it´s culture that cements European identity”.

– How exactly? One may ask imaginarily.
– “We have too many languages and cultures, indeed (…)Europe is a continent that was able to fuse many identities (…) We know there are books we have yet to read that will help us reflect on cultures different from our own. Little by little: that is how our European identity will become more profound.”

Lyrically enough, instead of emphasizing the euro-crisis (and he highly regarded the values of the internal market), he suggested to print the faces of Dante, Shakespeare, Balzac or Rosselini in our Euro notes.

Umberto Eco’s lifetime reminds us all that, we do live under a Union based on the rule of law, we do benefit from an internal market and, essentially, we must live up to being surrounded by multilingualism, by a plural culture. This is what our existence is about – enabling ourselves to endless possibilities through the others. Through translating ourselves – beyond communicating, we translate to perceive, to know, to feel, to comprehend. Through at last achieving tolerance as we have been underlining this February on UNIO’s blog.

Afterall, la lingua dell’Europa è la traduzione, la langue de l’Europe, c’est la traduction, die sprache Europas ist die übersetzung, a língua da Europa é a tradução…

Picture credits: Umberto Eco  by giveawayboy.


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