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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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13,335191165 (3.86)460
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 byprivate library, aileverte, Gika, Ivianka, pgtrnr
  1. 230
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (hankreardon, Sensei-CRS)
  2. 183
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    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)
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    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)
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    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.
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» See also 460 mentions

English (169)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Greek (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Could not finish this book. Patiently read to page 250 or thereabouts, but all that endlessly detailed secret society, religious mumbo jumbo did not draw me in. ( )
  amaraki | Jul 11, 2016 |
Why didn't Umberto Eco write shorter?? Read this as an homage given that never read anything by him after years in Italy. So, kinda cool concept. Would probably make a great movie and perhaps it did. Funny intersection of ironic romance, fascination with symbols/cults/occults a la Da Vinci Code, some cool stuff about human cravings for meaning in a meaningless world and where it leads us. But so unnecessarily long, haha.
  ahovde01 | Jun 26, 2016 |
too confusing ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
Lots of work - I don't know if I could have finished this without the internet to refer to. Finishing this was more an accomplishment than a pleasure, but a book like this every now & then is a good exercise. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
This was my first Eco book. It won't be my last.

I usually lose patience quickly when an author has a proclivity to use two, three - even four analogies where one is sufficient. Not so with this book. The analogies are so clever - and cleverly delivered - that I barely noticed I was being pestered by one of my pet peeves. Even after realizing it, I still was not bothered all that much. Strange, that.

Eco is a very wordy writer who, at the same time manages to drive the plot forward while painting immense pictures with words. The translation from Italian to English must have been a monumental task as the prose is dense and the sheer amount of cryptic references is staggering. While I'm sure some parts must have suffered due to translation, I found the text eminently readable. Anyway, on to the story...

Imagine that you work at a publishing house in Milan as a researcher. Now, imagine that, previous to being hired into this position, you wrote your doctoral thesis on the Knights Templar, thereby making you somewhat of an expert on the subject. Imagine further that your little publishing house is constantly beset by crackpot wanna-be authors who are looking to publish their personal crack-pot theories about the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Jesuits, the Jews, the Illuminati, the Catholics, the Nazis, the Masons, the Muslims, and... oh yes! The Masters of the World, who live underground, (naturally!)

So one night, after a long day at the office researching compounds for books on metallurgy, you are sitting around with a couple of your co-workers at the local watering hole discussing these crack-pot authors, (whom you have dubbed 'Diabolicals' - smirk!), when you hit upon an idea; you and your friends will write 'The Plan'! You will create a cohesive, all- encompassing plot that ties together all known conspiracy theories into a single unified plot! This plot will explain, once and for all, what all these mysterious secret groups have been up to all these centuries. To help with this task you enlist the aid of a strange, urbane old fellow named Agliè who is extremely knowledgeable about the occult and who likes to imply that he is the Comte de Saint-Germain, living in perpetuity and assuming new identities as the previous ones, (ahem), outlive their usefulness. But I digress...

As you and your friends obsessively enter historical details of 'The Plan' into your computer, (which is compiling all the data and turning it into 'The Plan' by finding conflicts in your data), you realize that the original Templar plan, (you know, the one that you are creating), went awry due to some mismanaged numerology. This led to one splinter group of Templars missing their meeting with another splinter group of Templars, which led to various and sundry shadowy organizations meandering around in the dark trying to figure out how to get back on track. When they catch wind of 'The Plan', these shadowy groups begin to pursue you and your friends in order to wring the final key to mastery of the world from you! Verily, your hoax is become like The Great Worm Ouroboros, eating it's own tail.

Oh, and everything of course hinges on the pendulum.

I liked this book despite the wordy 640-page length. I liked it despite Eco's insistence on lengthy descriptions. I liked it despite - and because of - the 'kitchen sink' approach that included just about every secret organization and conspiracy theory ever dreamed up. I loved this book for the humor and education it bestows. With that said, Focault's Pendulum is not for everyone. Many people will likely find it dry and tedious. I found it funny and entertaining in many parts. Downbeat and sad in others. One thing most readers will probably agree on - love it or hate it, Eco writes some extremely well-researched material and the depth of his historical knowledge is incredible.

If you're not sure, give it a try. Don't give up too soon but, if you're not having a good time by around page 200 or so, this book might not be for you. ( )
5 vote ScoLgo | Feb 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (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
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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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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