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Baudolino by Umberto Eco
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Baudolino (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Umberto Eco (Author), William Weaver (Translator), R.C. S. Libri (Draft Writer)

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7,289991,028 (3.54)214
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 marvellous tale by the inimitable author of THE NAME OF THE ROSE.… (more)
Member:tagallant
Title:Baudolino
Authors:Umberto Eco (Author)
Other authors:William Weaver (Translator), R.C. S. Libri (Draft Writer)
Info:Mariner Books (2003), Edition: Reprint, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
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Baudolino by Umberto Eco (2000)

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» See also 214 mentions

English (76)  Spanish (6)  Italian (6)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
By far Eco's weakest novel to date. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
In this light-hearted novel the eponymous Baudolino, a resourceful cross between Voltaire's Candide and Thomas Berger's "Little Big Man," is an energetic enough narrator who regales his tired hearer (one Niketas Choniates) with the story of Baudolino's agreeably misspent youth, his chance meeting with warlord emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and the remarkable events that follow when Frederick effectively adopts the clever stripling ( After forming bonds with several fellow students (including a moony would-be "Poet," a love-starved half-Moor, and a pragmatic rabbinical scholar), Baudolino sets out to write a history of his benefactor's exploits, assists in the defense of a defiant city built to withstand Frederick's impending sacking, and devises a plan to locate the legendary Holy "Grasal" (a.k. grail). The narrative continued in that vein and seldom disappointed this reader. ( )
  jwhenderson | Apr 9, 2022 |
Probably an objectively better book than I've rated it, Baudolino plods on for the first several hundred pages. The tail end redeems the book and ultimately justifies reading the entire book. ( )
  bennylope | Feb 24, 2022 |
In the year of 1204, Baudolino of Alessandria enters Constantinople, unaware of the Fourth Crusade that has thrown the city into chaos. In the confusion, he meets Niketas Choniates and saves his life. Niketas is amazed by his language genius, speaking many languages he has never heard, and Baudolino begins to recount his life story to Niketas.

His story begins in 1155, when Baudolino – a highly talented Italian peasant boy – is sold to and adopted by the emperor Frederick I. At court and on the battlefield, he is educated in reading and writing Latin and learns about the power struggles and battles of northern Italy at the time. He is sent to Paris to become a scholar.

In Paris, he gains friends (such as the Archpoet, Abdul, Robert de Boron and Kyot, the purported source of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival) and learns about the legendary kingdom of Prester John. From this event onward, Baudolino dreams of reaching this fabled land.

The earlier parts of the story follow the general historical and geographical outlines of 12th-century Europe, with special emphasis on the Emperor Frederick's futile efforts to subdue the increasingly independent and assertive city states of Northern Italy. Baudolino, both a beloved adopted son to the Emperor and a loyal native of the newly founded and highly rebellious town of Alessandria, plays a key role in reconciliation between the Emperor and the Alessandria townspeople, who are led by Baudolino's biological father; a way is found for the Emperor to recognize Alessandria's independence without losing face. (It is no accident that Alessandria is Umberto Eco's own hometown.) During the siege, Baudolino works on the side of Frederick Barbarossa, but concocts a plan to help win the Alessandrian townspeople independence. He attempts to convince the emperor's forces that Alessandria is more prepared for a siege than them through stuffing a cow with the last of Alessandria's wheat and sends the cow out to the Emperor's forces. When the cow is cut open, it reveals a full belly of wheat. The emperor's forces are convinced that Alessandria is not worth besieging, and thus leave.

The incident of the death of Emperor Frederick, while on the Third Crusade, is a key element of the plot. This part involves an element of secret history – the book asserts that Emperor Frederick had not drowned in a river, as history records, but died mysteriously at night while hosted at the castle of a sinister Armenian noble. This part also constitutes a historical detective mystery – specifically, a historical locked room mystery – with various suspects suggested, each of whom had a clever means of killing the Emperor, and with Baudolino acting as the detective. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Nov 27, 2021 |
Not my thing. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (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 (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eco, Umbertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boeke, YondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krone, PattyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lozano Miralles, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Mi fan partir costoro il grande stento
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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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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 marvellous tale by the inimitable author of THE NAME OF THE ROSE.

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