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Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
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Foucault's Pendulum (1988)

by Umberto Eco

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,604195156 (3.86)472
  1. 230
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (hankreardon, Sensei-CRS)
  2. 183
    The Dumas Club by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (P_S_Patrick, stephaniefeldman, Sensei-CRS)
    P_S_Patrick: These books have a fair bit in common. They are both intense and thrilling mysteries, involving the occult, conspiracies, books, murders, and are both set mainly in Europe. What The Club Dumas does, Foucalt's Pendulum does better, but that is just my opinion. I have known people give up on reading Foucalt's Pendulum because of its length, its abundance of complicated detail, and its demands on the readers concentration, but any serious reader who enjoyed the Club Dumas should enjoy this more. Anyone who enjoyed Eco's story, likewise, should enjoy the other book, but don't expect it to be quite as good, though I don't think there is a surplus of work in this genre that can compare, with this being more or less the next best thing that I have read.… (more)
  3. 72
    The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Two brilliant conspiracy stories, with heaps of secrets and scret societies, wicked or plain mad characters. Both well written.
  4. 73
    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (ateolf)
  5. 74
    The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea (craigim, ateolf)
  6. 54
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (billmcn)
    billmcn: The best paranoid alternate history novel ever written. Also the best novel ever written.
  7. 21
    The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery by Enrique Joven (bertilak)
  8. 32
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: See the Name of the Rose recommendation above - I find Foucault's even more analogous here because Name of the Rose is a bit more plot-driven than the other two, where Foucault's and Anathem both have as much as 40% pure theory-disguised-as-dialogue.… (more)
  9. 00
    Ægypt by John Crowley (LamontCranston)
  10. 00
    The Damned by Joris-Karl Huysmans (Torikton)
  11. 00
    Alamut by Vladimir Bartol (ursula)
    ursula: Alamut tells the story of the assassins of the Alamut fortress reference in Foucault's Pendulum. It also has a philosophical bent that will probably appeal.
  12. 11
    Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups by Robert Anton Wilson (ehines)
    ehines: A good primer on a lot of the conspiracy theories that drive this book.
  13. 11
    Flicker by Theodore Roszak (ari.joki)
    ari.joki: Secret societies, conspiracies, mass media...
  14. 22
    The Flanders Panel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Patangel)
  15. 24
    Lempriere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: These two books have a fair bit in common. Both are dense, demanding, historical, and are thick with intrigue, conspiracy, and foul play. Thrilling stuff.
  16. 14
    The Fire by Katherine Neville (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Numerology, arcane science, secret societies and foreign languages bind these two works together.
  17. 14
    The Moses Legacy by Adam Palmer (Farringdon, hankreardon)
    Farringdon: Umberto Eco is essentially an up-market Dan Brown
  18. 16
    The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent (Moomin_Mama)
    Moomin_Mama: One is a cracking, very readable conspiracy theory. The other is an intelligent thriller which makes fun of such books, their writers and their readers. Both are great fun
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» See also 472 mentions

English (172)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Greek (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (195)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
Finishing this novel before the new year makes Umberto Eco my most-read author this year (at a grand total of three books). I knew that I was curious about it and that I liked Eco's breadth of reading and how that came through in his books. I like how he not only knows a lot but the way he draws connections between ideas and facts and stories. That said, hearing what a challenge this book is, I was going in expecting something like [b:Ulysses|946322|Ulysses|James Joyce|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1360805604s/946322.jpg|2368224] and was prepared to scoff at any pointed efforts to dissuade readers from continuing. And that pretty indecipherable Hebrew epigram is purposefully discouraging, but after that point I was actually completely on board. I understand that a lot of this is due to my courses in religious studies that made me familiar with pretty much all of the rituals and history and conspiracies that he brought forward. I never felt lost, and I acknowledge that it definitely made the text significantly more accessible to me.

There were numerous aspects I loved. The over-educated trio that push the plot forward, the Comte de Saint-Germaine and the idea of him as a stock-character in a work of fiction, the concept of Tres and their becoming, as it were. There were times that with a sick twist I wished The Da Vinci Code never happened, because it's so overblown and silly when dealing with similar subject matter. And I get why Dan Brown was popular and why Umberto Eco wouldn't be to the same extent, but to me this is just so much a better book and never needed to be replicated and simplified. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
This is my favorite Umberto Eco story. Three friends come up with a ridiculous theory that starts leading its own life. Even better: it starts dictating reality instead of the other way around. In the end everyone seems to have become a fool in a non-existent plot to change history. Written well before the Dan Brown cr@p, yet a perfect way to ridicule the complete batch of “stooopid worldwide plot” books. ( )
1 vote jeroenvandorp | Feb 13, 2017 |
A re-read from the 90s. Fine, just as intricate as I remembered. I really got stuck in the middle, but rushed towards the end. I am seriously questioning whether to ever read a 300+ page novel again, as I think I would rather just read two novels.

The war reminiscence reminded me of Primo Levi - I would love a book exploring Eco and Levi ideas, together. ( )
  kcshankd | Jan 23, 2017 |
At the time of reading, Eco had just died, and I had 5 of his novels on my to-read pile. I enjoyed this, but it did strike me as a book that would merit study rather than simply reading for pleasure. The balance of occult references to actual story line was a little one-sided in my opinion. With that said, I got a lot of pleasure out of reading it, and the style was surprisingly light. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Nov 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
Umberto Eco has launched a novel that is even more intricate and absorbing than his international best seller The Name of the Rose. Unlike its predecessor, Foucault's Pendulum does not restrict its range of interests to monastic, medieval arcana. This time Eco's framework is vast -- capacious enough to embrace reams of ancient, abstruse writings and a host of contemporary references or allusions...
True believers, skeptics, those waffling in between: all are in for a scarifying shock of recognition.
added by Shortride | editTime, Paul Gray (Nov 6, 1989)
 
You may call the book an intellectual triumph, if not a fictional one. No man should know so much. It is the work not of a literary man but of one who accepts the democracy of signs. .... To see what Mr. Eco is really getting at, the reader of his fiction or pseudofiction should consult his scholarly works, where observation and interpretation are not disguised as entertainment. I don't think ''Foucault's Pendulum'' is entertainment any more than was ''The Name of the Rose.'' It will appeal to readers who have a puritanical tinge - those who think they are vaguely sinning if they are having a good time with a book. To be informed, however, is holy.
 
I doubt if we will see a more exhilarating novel published this year, and you don't have to take a reviewer's word for it: can 600,000 Italians be wrong?
added by qball56k | editThe Guardian, Jonathan Coe (Oct 12, 1989)
 
U ovom delu Eko se lucidno podsmehnuo svim teorijama zavere od srednjeg veka do danas. Posle čitanja ovog romana sigurno je da će mnogi čitaoci pohrliti da obogate svoja saznanja o alhemiji, kabali i srednjovekovnim tajnim društvima. U ovom romanu Eko se lucidno podsmehnuo svim teorijama zavere od srednjeg veka do danas.
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com
 
U ovom delu Eko se lucidno podsmehnuo svim teorijama zavere od srednjeg veka do danas. Posle čitanja ovog romana sigurno je da će mnogi čitaoci pohrliti da obogate svoja saznanja o alhemiji, kabali i srednjovekovnim tajnim društvima. U ovom romanu Eko se lucidno podsmehnuo svim teorijama zavere od srednjeg veka do danas.
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com
 

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, Umbertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexanderson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boeke, YondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kroeber, BurkhartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krone, PattyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikoski, TuulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Костюкович… ЕленаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Only for you, children of doctrine and learning, have we written this work. Examine this book, ponder the meaning we have dispersed in various places and gathered again; what we have concealed in one place we have disclosed in another, that it may be understood by your wisdom.

  --Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, De occulta philosophia, 3, 65
Superstition brings bad luck.

  --Raymond Smullyan, 5000 B.C. 1.3.8
Dedication
First words
Fu allora che vidi il Pendolo.
That was when I saw the Pendulum.
Quotations
I am not for one moment denying the presence in your house of alien entities; it's the most natural thing in the world, but with a little common sense it could all be explained as a poltergeist.
Fu allora che vidi il Pendolo.
La sfera, mobile all'estremità di un lungo filo fissato alla volta del coro, descriveva le sue ampie oscillazioni con isocrona maestà.
Io sapevo – ma chiunque avrebbe dovuto avvertire nell'incanto di quel placido respiro – che il periodo era regolato dal rapporto tra la radice quadrata della lunghezza del filo e quel numero π che, irrazionale alle menti sublunari, per divina ragione lega necessariamente la circonferenza al diametro di tutti i cerchi possibili – così che il tempo di quel vagare di una sfera dall'uno all'altro polo era effetto di una arcana cospirazione tra le più intemporali delle misure, l'unità del punto di sospensione, la dualità di una astratta dimensione, la natura ternaria di π, il tetragono segreto della radice, la perfezione del cerchio.
Ancora sapevo che sulla verticale del punto di sospensione, alla base, un dispositivo magnetico, comunicando il suo richiamo a un cilindro nascosto nel cuore della sfera, garantiva la costanza del moto, artificio disposto a contrastare le resistenze della materia, ma che non si opponeva alla legge del Pendolo, anzi le permetteva di manifestarsi, perché nel vuoto qualsiasi punto materiale pesante, sospeso all'estremità di un filo inestensibile e senza peso, che non subisse la resistenza dell'aria, e non facesse attrito col suo punto d'appoggio, avrebbe oscillato in modo regolare per l'eternità.
Iniziare l'università due anni dopo il sessantotto è come essere ammessi all'Accademia di Saint-Cyr nel novantatré. Si ha l'impressione di avere sbagliato anno di nascita. D'altra parte Jacopo Belbo, che aveva almeno quindici anni più di me, mi convinse più tardi che questa è una sensazione che provano tutte le generazioni. Si nasce sempre sotto il segno sbagliato e stare al mondo in modo dignitoso vuol dire correggere giorno per giorno il proprio oroscopo.
Credo che si diventi quel che nostro padre ci ha insegnato nei tempi morti, mentre non si preoccupava di educarci. Ci si forma su scarti di saggezza.
Non è che l'incredulo non debba credere a nulla. Non crede a tutto. Crede a una cosa per volta, e a una seconda solo se in qualche modo discende dalla prima. Procede in modo miope, metodico, non azzarda orizzonti. Di due cose che non stiano insieme, crederle tutte e due, e con l'idea che da qualche parte ve ne sia una terza, occulta, che le unisce questa è la credulità.
L'incredulità non esclude la curiosità, la conforta.
Più tardi Lia mi avrebbe detto: "Tu vivi di superfici. Quando sembri profondo è perché ne incastri molte, e combini l'apparenza di un solido – un solido che se fosse solido non potrebbe stare in piedi."
"Stai dicendo che sono superficiale?"
"No" mi aveva risposto, "quello che gli altri chiamano profondità è solo un tesseract, un cubo tetradimensionale. Entri da un lato, esci dall'altro, e ti trovi in un universo che non può coesistere col tuo."
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
ISBN 9781593972165 is an abridged audiobook edition of Foucault's Pendulum narrated by Tim Curry. It is 6 hours and 38 minutes long which is approximately only 1/3rd of the original work. This edition should not be combined with unabridged editions of Foucault's Pendulum. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015603297X, Paperback)

Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled—a point located in Paris, France, at Foucault’s Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth.

Orchestrating these and other diverse characters into his multilayered semiotic adventure, Eco has created a superb cerebral entertainment.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:08 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Three Milan editors, who have spent much time rewriting crackpot manuscripts on the occult, decide to have a little fun. Their plan encompasses the secrets of the solar system, Satanic initiation rites, and Brazilian voodoo. A terrific joke--until people begin to disappear.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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