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Baudolino (2000)

by Umberto Eco

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,86891965 (3.53)210
Eco returns to the Middle Ages with Baudolino - a wondrous, provocative, beguiling tale of history, myth, and invention. It is April, 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a Byzantine historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors, and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story. Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts - a talent for learning foreign languages and skill in telling lies. One day, when still a boy, he met a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander - who proves to be the emperor Frederick Barbarossa - adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king who was said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East - a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens. As always with Eco, this abundant novel includes dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, pages of extraordinary feeling and poetry, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age. Baudolino is an utterly marvelous tale by the inimitable author of The Name of the Rose.… (more)
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» See also 210 mentions

English (70)  Italian (6)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Started out promising. A fictional character joining Emperor Fredrick's court in the latter part of the 1100's. The first half of the book was mostly entertaining but after that it became inane fantasy fiction. I was tempted not to finish the book, perhaps only the third in my life I had no interest in completing. But I forced myself to scan the last 1/3 of the book. Can't say there was anything much satisfying in it. Kinda sad that such a celebrated author would write such ridiculous stuff. ( )
  PallanDavid | Aug 20, 2020 |
Aside from a few parts that I got a little bored with, this novel was, by and large, a tour de force of humorous historical storytelling proportions. I was delighted and totally amused by Baudolino, the inveterate trickster, storyteller, and liar.

Putting aside actual history for a moment and the MC's way of explaining that he is, as always, a liar, but he only lies for good, the novel grows epic from the first passages. We start with the fall of Constantinople, getting in tight with Barbarossa (the Holy Roman Emperor), and move into an amazing and amusing set of circumstances that include the founding of Alexandria, going on several quests for Prester John, meeting all manners of strange creatures and lands right out of the weirdest Medieval descriptions, and so much more.

This is Umberto Eco, after all. If we're not knee-or-thigh-deep in fascinating historical footnotes couched in an expansive idea-rich adventure, then we must have wandered into someone else's novel.

I laughed-out-loud many times. I especially loved the whole con game about selling relics. In this case, the seven severed heads of John the Baptist. :) The kinds of lies that Baudolino and his cohorts told were fantastic, rich, and while they didn't always pan out the way they hoped, the effects were gorgeous to behold.

Is this a farce? A satire? A wonderful sarcastic and worldly tribute to imagination and The Pilgrim's Progress? (And better, too?) Hell, you know this is crazy when you have our hero carry around the Holy Grail.

But what is real and what is pure fabrication? Possibly everything, but even Baudolino warns us that he tells us lies to get to the very truth of things. And that's the best part of the novel.

I got lost in the stories and didn't care a fig about anything but the telling.

My only complaint was with the whole sequence around Hypatia. I kinda didn't care for the philosophical ramblings so much. I just wanted him to move on with the rest of the adventure. But aside from this, I loved everything. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Menjelang 30 halaman terakhir bukannya merasa lega saya malah merasa sedih dan tidak ingin kisahnya berakhir. Sebulan lebih novel ini menemani saya, waktu yang lama untuk menyelesaikan sebuah novel. Terlepas dari saya percaya atau tidak, saat selesai membaca halaman terakhir saya merasakan perasaan campur aduk tentang pria bernama Baudolino dan perjalanan hidupnya......*malas menulis penjelasan* ( )
  Titut | Feb 10, 2020 |
Read Borges instead. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
Who doesn't like to read about the Crusades? I -- for one -- don't care if the story is true or not. There was so much wild-and-crazy stuff going on that anything becomes possible. Religion is a crock, which makes the Crusades a fiction writer's paradisical milieu and can be a reader's all-time greatest adventure. Silverlock for Sanity, anyone? ( )
  NathanielPoe | Mar 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
It's a mystery that begins well, and ends well, too, drenched in the scholastic logic and the intricate, entertaining literary gamesmanship that is Mr. Eco's territory. The problem is that while ''Baudolino'' contains plenty of learning and imagination, it is so strenuously fanciful that it becomes tedious, like a Thanksgiving Day parade that lasts all day.
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, UmbertoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boeke, YondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krone, PattyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lozano Miralles, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Emanuele
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Rattishbon Anno Domini mense decembri mclv Cronicle of Baudolino of the fammily of Aulario.
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"Faith makes things become true."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Eco returns to the Middle Ages with Baudolino - a wondrous, provocative, beguiling tale of history, myth, and invention. It is April, 1204, and Constantinople, the splendid capital of the Byzantine Empire, is being sacked and burned by the knights of the fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, one Baudolino saves a Byzantine historian and high court official from certain death at the hands of the crusading warriors, and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story. Born a simple peasant in northern Italy, Baudolino has two major gifts - a talent for learning foreign languages and skill in telling lies. One day, when still a boy, he met a foreign commander in the woods, charming him with his quick wit and lively mind. The commander - who proves to be the emperor Frederick Barbarossa - adopts Baudolino and sends him to the university in Paris, where he makes a number of fearless, adventurous friends. Spurred on by myths and their own reveries, this merry band sets out in search of Prester John, a legendary priest-king who was said to rule over a vast kingdom in the East - a phantasmagorical land of strange creatures with eyes on their shoulders and mouths on their stomachs, of eunuchs, unicorns, and lovely maidens. As always with Eco, this abundant novel includes dazzling digressions, outrageous tricks, pages of extraordinary feeling and poetry, and vicarious reflections on our postmodern age. Baudolino is an utterly marvelous tale by the inimitable author of The Name of the Rose.

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