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19

T U E S D A Y

At a time when “serious” novels were typically thin, wan tales of academic life, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose transformed an academic in-joke into a big, boisterous best-seller. Though set on a ship rather than in a library, the Milanese semiotician and novelist’s recent The Island of the Day Before follows a similar schema, unlocking vast erudition that Eco has this time stored in cabinets of the hold of an abandoned ship, the Daphne. In a Smithsonian Associates program titled “Umberto Eco: An Exotic Literary Journey,” cultural historian Marc Pachter will discuss the origins of the book with the novelist. At 8 p.m. at the Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. $16. For reservations call (202) 357-3030. (MJ)