John's Reviews > Foucault's Pendulum

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
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Jul 08, 09

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: everyone
Read in November, 2008

While this book is ostensibly about conspiracies, ancient orders, secret societies, codes, riddles, catacombs and satanic rites it is also about less esoteric themes - obsession, meaning, reality vs. fantasy. Possibly it is an analogy to the dangers of historical revision.

It attacks both modernism and tradition, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It derides false authenticity, and yet hints at a diffusionism in which nothing can be authentic. Eco combines scholarly treatises, human interest stories, absurd character studies and serious introspection in a story that encompasses all of written history. Taught, measured, delivered expertly in careful doses, the narrative is addictive - I read this book in three days.

The only thing I can compare it to is the Illuminatus Trilogy, but none of its humor is self-aware or full of winking fan-service; or perhaps the film "Pi," but of course, Eco is much more skilled than poor Aronofsky, and the journey of descent into obsessive desire for grand secret knowledge (and thus madness) is gradually illuminated rather than drilled into our heads...

In short, this book is fantastic. You should read it you uncultured fascist pig!
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia foucault wrote about the insidious internal control unwittingly obtained from external forces (known as social constructionism) where humanity unconsciously normalizes blind obedience to the known and the accepted norm. i will have to read your book.

thank you for a fantastic review. very intriguing and beguiling. what is historical revision but social constructivism?


message 2: by John (last edited Nov 09, 2008 12:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John "the Foucault whose namesake graces the title is the eminent 19th century scientist Léon Foucault."

oh my god... i just reread your comment. Perhaps Eco's title is a pun!?!

Your absolutely right of course, all of Michel Foucault social histories lambast and destroy the socially constructed mythological history we have conglomerate to defend our current status quo as historically necessary.


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia me thinks you need to ask Eco if the title is indeed a pun! Like Catenoutu's use of Kante in his Title "Kan't's Dove."

i miss you a lot and yearn for stimulating conversation!


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