Foucault's Pendulum (book review) Umberto Eco

William Weaver(Translator)


211003: think i read this first as trade ppk (33 yrs ago!) had read [book:The Name of the Rose|119073] 3 times before, went on to read [book:The Island of the Day Before|10506], [book:Baudolino|10507], [book:The Prague Cemetery|10314376], [book:The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana|10503] ... this remains five, though it has lost that magical singularity on first reading. never went back to [book:The Name of the Rose|119073] or reread the others. these are all long books but not stylistically challenging, easy to read in that way...


so it went very quick reading again, though i do not know how much is remembrance, how much is all the other books since read and allusions/jokes etc followed, of his own work as well in pomo fashion, but because of other books, his as mentioned, i am more aware of how he constructs the narratives, the characters, wonder what sly allusions he is using, decide it does not matter, as the conspiracy referenced within the Plan is also the conspiracy of the Plot (of the book...)...


there is not really much to add to my original review. maybe examples: intellectual deconstruction of numerological theories from intellectual skeptic point of view, followed fifty pages later with, for lack of better word 'anatomical' deconstruction of same from non-intellectual point of view (they really should listen to her), fun, perhaps demonstration of how-to-make-conspiracy, in which william shakespeare is identity/falsity, then, later, the revelatory 'coded' message of secret society revealed as... 'laundry list'? by which time, as the secret police of various regimes discover, if you want to uncover spies/conspirators etc, pretend your conspiracy already exists and sweep up the fools who flock to join it...


there could be some distrust that eco has made the book so extensive, but from what (little) i understand of the concept of the pendulum, it proves, by its oscillation, that there is no fixed, priveleged point of motion, that indeed everything can be connected to everything, and here in malicious way, so he has made the satire encompass the centuries, the secret societies, the secret secret societies... and comes to beautiful elegiac end...


210928: reading it for second time after 3+? decades...


020219 from ??? 90s: i think of this as literary philosophical corrective to pynchon’s work eg [book:Gravity's Rainbow|27197] (any of his books...), where everything is involved in a massive conspiracy. more, not denying this but informed by learning so many, so constant, ludicrous, dangerous, hateful creative conspiracy, this book offers sort of the ‘theory of conspiracy’...


this book insists that now and then, before and after, never and forever that disparate unrelated events or knowledge can all be made to connect, that once you begin with conspiracy it quickly becomes an article of unshakable faith and not reasoned arguments, that there is no escape from suspicion and possibility, that even attempts at escape are obviously part of some conspiracy, that- my favorite bit (spoiler)- the entire world is turned inside-out and every evidence contrary is part of worldwide deception (my joke...) for me this is even more a favorite than [book:The Name of the Rose|119073]. but then i deeply enjoy the first hundred pages of that book, the ‘test’ of a reader’s worthiness eco claimed was deliberate. this is kind of like that as an entire book...

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