What (more) modern detective does Eco model his detective on in The Name of the Rose?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that William of Baskervilles clearly is based upon his literary predecessor, Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle. This resemblance is hinted at in more than just temperament, for even in his physical presentation with his great height emphasised, William of Baskervilles is shown to resemble Sherlock Holmes. However, what clearly indicates that Eco used Holmes as his model is the way that William of Baskervilles is shown to be an adherent of the writings of Bacon and of the belief in reason to solve any problem. Note what the narrator writes about this, and how he comments on his own approach to rationalism and curiosity:

In time I realised that what seemed a lack of confidence was only curiosity, but at the beginning I knew little of this virtue, which I thought, rather, a passion of the covetous spirit. I believed instead that the rational spirit should not indulge such passion, but feed only on the Truth, which (I thought) one knows from the outset.

William of Baskervilles is a detective who basis his detective skills on the cold science of rationalism, of what can be seen, observed, and logically deduced. This clearly places him in the same league of detectives as Sherlock Holmes, who Eco used as a literary model for his own detective figure.


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