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Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
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Foucalt's Pendulum (original 1988; edition 1990)

by Umberto Eco

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12,608176190 (3.86)410
Member:gillianbaskin
Title:Foucalt's Pendulum
Authors:Umberto Eco
Info:Picador (1990), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (1988)

Recently added bySethur, MutantAtoms, Litblog, echoindarkness, HubCity, jmier7, private library, haag, mjcherbert, rhansen55
  1. 210
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (hankreardon, Sensei-CRS)
  2. 173
    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. 73
    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (ateolf)
  4. 52
    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.
  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. 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.
  8. 22
    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
    The Damned by Joris-Karl Huysmans (Torikton)
  10. 11
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    ehines: A good primer on a lot of the conspiracy theories that drive this book.
  11. 11
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    ari.joki: Secret societies, conspiracies, mass media...
  12. 22
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  13. 22
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  14. 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.
  15. 14
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    PghDragonMan: Numerology, arcane science, secret societies and foreign languages bind these two works together.
  16. 14
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  17. 16
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    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 410 mentions

English (156)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (5)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Greek (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
What a tedious, poorly-written piece of crap this is! Does that sound harsh? Yeah, well, you probably didn't just read this like I did. Foucault's Pendulum is about a publishing company who, initially rejects books based on conspiracy theories in favor of books about legitimate, provable facts. However, the occult is selling well in the bookstores, so the group decides to start publishing a line of books about a wide array of nonsense to cash in on it, which in turn leads to a hoax in which they publish some false information, with disastrous results!

Sounds like a simple plot, right? Well, It takes several hundred pages for it all to come together, and every bit of it is painfully unpleasant to read. Umberto Eco is obviously very knowledgeable about the topics he has written about here, but he couldn't construct a compelling sentence to save his life. Look, I read a large variety of books, including literary fiction and classics. Like most people, I've come across the occasional dense and difficult-to-read book from the 1800's. And I've actually been accused of liking books that have no plot. But this? This isn't dense or plotless, it's pretty simple, in fact everything the author tries to cleverly allude to is spelled out before the end anyway, but it's just an utter and absolute failure in regard to the execution. It's not difficult to read from a technical standpoint, I didn't have trouble following anything that was happening, I just couldn't be bothered to give a crap, regardless of the occasional brilliance shimmering through the muck.

I'm sure the author is a great professor, and he certainly seems like an intelligent man if I were to hazard that assumption through his writing, I don't question that at all. But with that said, I'd sooner put my head in a wood chipper than read another one of his books. What a miserable and unrewarding experience this book was. ( )
  Ape | Nov 24, 2014 |
This is one of those books I feel it should have enjoyed more than I did. It's an incredibly intelligent book of Templar secrets and conspiracy theories. However, it didn't quite work for me.

The story involves three friends work at a publishing house that is used to seeing manuscripts exploring and supposedly revealing the secrets of the Templars and other occult sects. When a man comes to tell them he has discovered a secret code, they figure he is mad like many of the others and send him on his way. Several days later he disappears under mysterious circumstances. Inspired by the mystery, the friends begin to spin a story based on the texts they've read, inventing the Templar Plan. It's a game, a fake. Or so it seems.

The premise sounds exciting, but it was bogged down and drawn out. Around 90% of the book is in dialog between the three friends or between the narrator and other characters, talking history, theories, counter theories, myths, and so forth about the Templars, Rosecrutians, and others. Hundreds and hundreds of pages, so many facts an dates and names with periodic untranslated phrases in Latin and French, so much that I would sometimes grow glassy eyed while reding and facts seemed the blur together. I couldn't keep it all straight. I like my history books to read like stories; this is a novel that reads like a history textbook.

Other than the narrator, I never full connected with or cared much about the characters and even the narrator I wasn't that much into. Any threat or tension was buried under the mountain of information. The Plan created by the three friends doesn't even start to take place until over halfway through the book. By the time the danger starts to really show itself and actual action becomes mixed in, it's almost too little too late. The climax felt anticlimactic and it all seemed more work than it was worth.

It's clear that Echo is a scholar, because the amount of research that had to have gone into this book boggles the mind. I know of at least one friend who loves this book and I can see why people like it. But ultimately it was not for me. ( )
  andreablythe | Aug 4, 2014 |
This book is hard to describe because it works on so many levels. Like all of Eco’s work, at it’s most basic level it’s a study of words, philosophy, and history. At it’s most commercial level it’s a thriller/suspense novel (if you can stay on track with that story through all of the diversions!). Basically, the owners of a publishing company become involved in the world of a network of conspiracy theorists whose focus is the Templars, Rosicrucians, Occult sciences, etc. The publishers create a fictional but elaborate story from a partially finished document that is supposed to be the “answer” to everything these conspiracy theorists have been searching for. This fictional “Plan” ends up being taken quite seriously with disastrous results. As the publishers find, if you write something enough times it becomes true!

Eco isn't always easy to read, but his insights are really interesting and amusing. If you like language, words, philosophical humor, etc., I'd recommend it. Otherwise, you'll probably be really, really annoyed! ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 23, 2014 |
Parts of this I really enjoyed and I liked the message that people will believe what they want to believe. However, there was too much cabalistic history that I really didn't get and had to just read for the sake of getting to a section that I could understand. I also found some of it ridiculous (as in a secret Templar actually wrote all of Shakespeare's work for him). The main plot, about Casaubon and Belbo, reminded me of a more erudite version of Dan Brown's [book:The Da Vinci Code|6192236], which was the best part of the book (although I did like Belbo's reminiscences about being a boy during WW2). ( )
  leslie.98 | May 30, 2014 |
Romanian version
  athaulf | May 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (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
 

» Add other authors (64 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, Umbertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexanderson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boeke, YondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kroeber, BurkhartÜbersetzersecondary 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
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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:01 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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