The Manuscript of Dom Adso of Melk

Unlike Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, this begins with the infamous statements that the author calls FACT, Umberto Eco begins his novel The Name of Rose by referring to a fictional book. In its English translation by William Weaver, information concerning to this fictional book appears in French, probably directly taken from the original text that is written mainly in Italian. Therefore, the title of the book is written as following: ‘Le Manuscrit de Dom Adson de Melk, tranduit en français d’après l’édition de Dom J. Mabillon (Aux Presses de l’Abbaye de la Source, Paris, 1842)’ (Weaver, 1998, p. 1).


According to Haft et al., the title above can be translated in English as following: ‘The Manuscript of Dom Adso of Melk, translated into French and based on the edition of J. Mabillon (The Presses of Abbey of the Source, Paris, 1842)’ (

It should be noted that in the translation above, a word ‘Dom’ attached to the names of both Adson de Melk and J. Mabillon in the original text disappeared from the latter’s name. Instead of this, Haft et al. adds another information relating to the word ‘Dom’. It says that the word ‘Dom’ represents a title in Benedictine order and, more precisely, it is a shortened form of the very title ‘Dominus’, which means ‘lord’ in Latin.

Furthermore, as for the author of the fictional book, whilst the author describes as ‘a certain Abbé Vallet’, Haft et al. gives further annotation that a word ‘Abbé’ simply means ‘priest or abbot’ (ibid).



l        Book

Weaver, William (tran.) (1998), Umberto Eco – The Name of the Rose

Vintage, the Random House Group Limited, London


l        Internet

Haft, Adele J., Jane G. White and Robert J. (1999), White The Key to “The name of the rose”: including translations of all non-English passages (accessed 09/02/2010)

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2 Responses to The Manuscript of Dom Adso of Melk

  1. Robert says:

    What’s cute, but PROBABLY not intended by Eco, is that the addition of “Dom” makes “Dom Adson” come out even closer in English to “Doc Watson”, just as “William” in German, “Wilhelm”, comes out close to “Holmes”.

    • William of Basketcase says:

      At one point William says to Adso ‘Elementary’.
      I think it’s when they’re first in the library and William
      is running around, hooting, like a kid on Christmas
      morning overexcited by all the gift wrapped gifts.

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