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Foucalt's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

Foucalt's Pendulum (original 1988; edition 1990)

by Umberto Eco

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12,868183178 (3.86)429
Title:Foucalt's Pendulum
Authors:Umberto Eco
Info:Picador (1990), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (1988)

  1. 220
    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. 00
    Ægypt by John Crowley (LamontCranston)
  9. 00
    The Damned by Joris-Karl Huysmans (Torikton)
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  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 429 mentions

English (162)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (5)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Greek (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (183)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
You know all those books that purport to reveal the secrets of the ancients. This isn't one of those books.

A young university student in Milan in the turbulent 1960s flirts with the revolutionary spirit of the times but Casaubon becomes immersed in his doctoral thesis subject, the Templars. He sticks to the period of time before and up to the trial that throws the Order of the Templars to be disbanded. He does not deal with any of the rumours about Templar secrets and hidden Templar sects because there is no proof that the Templars survived after the trials. But he certainly is aware of these rumours and has heard of the connections between Templars and Masons and satanists and other occult groups. So when a friend at a publishing house, Jacopo Belbo, asks him to glance at a manuscript dealing with the Templars he is able to point out the flaws in reasoning. This friend talks him into working part time for Garamond Press. When the head of the publishing house decides to encourage writers to submit books about all sorts of occult matters (which will be printed if the author comes up with enough money) Casuabon, Belbo and Diotallevi, another employee of the publishing house, decide to formulate their own plan of the Templar secret. This is all done in jest and none of them believe in what they are concocting but they get rather carried away with the joke. Then someone takes them seriously and they have to try to withdraw from the hoax but it seems to have taken on a life of its own.

So, although this book pokes fun at all the plotters and conspiracy theorists in the world, there is also a seriousness behind everything. It sort of reminds me of that quote from Catch-22 "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you."

Umberto Eco is still alive and still publishing books. In my opinion he is a bona fide genius. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 6, 2015 |
I wish I could give this 6 stars. after starting this book about three times over the last 15 years, I started again. This time with a KINDLE to manage all the words I didn't know. It was like reading art. Such a lush language. oh yes and a story that haunts you for days....weeks..... the books starts almost at the end and then tracts back to at 90% you are at the beginning and start to understand. Reading with a KINDLE helped me read this at a fairly fast pace and I can't wait to read another book by Umberto. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Apr 2, 2015 |
a classic by all means ( )
  abhidd1687 | Mar 26, 2015 |
I started and set down this book a couple of times. This final time I decided I would finish it come hell or high water. It seemed I would spend pages slogging through difficult reading only to be re-energized by a chapter or two that actually seemed written in english. Somewhere in the book was a wonderful tale of mystery and history. Unfortunately, the book was such a difficult read I failed to see the forest through the trees. ( )
  azrowan | Mar 1, 2015 |
My first contact with Umberto Eco was through the movie The Name of the Rose. It's an outstanding movie - an intricate and entertaining plot, a great setting, excellent actors. Since then I've intended to read the book and decades have passed. Then came 'The Prague Cemetery' (PC) which I read and then I continued back through Eco's timeline as an author and read Foucalt's Pendulum (FP). I'm sort of glad I read them in this order, because FP in that retrospective light looks like a poorly executed first attempt at 'toying' with the same themes that return in PC. He should probably taken the best ideas and scenes from both books and combined them into something else, something better. Because, there are a lot of interesting characters and scenes i FP and Perhaps for some, it's worth reading despite it being rather mediocre. An example of the similar themes in the books is a text featuring Comte Saint Germain, written by one of the main characters friend's(Belbo), where a scene is unmistakably the germ to 'Captain Simonini' and his criminal activities in the Paris sewers.

Perhaps it's because I'm quite knowledgeable when it comes to occult and esoteric matters that Eco's presentation of them seems so thin and sloppy to me. The big secret itself is rather banal and unimaginative. Quite unexpected when reading other reviews on how dense the text is and how challenged you'll be by all the references and twists and turns of the story. Hardly. What you experience is actually the author himself getting so snared by all the cool occult themes, conspiracy theories and historical characters he finds so fascinating, that he forgot to keep his discipline to make it a good story.

I suggest that you don't invest your hard earned spare time to read this. Instead I recommend 'The Morning of the Magicians' (Le Matin des magiciens), which was written by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in the 1960s. It's full of the 'original' occult/esoteric/conspiracy theories and you avoid being bored by a banal plot. ( )
1 vote boris_balkan | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (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 (58 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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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
First words
That was when I saw the Pendulum.
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 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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