Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Foucault's Pendulum” as Want to Read:
Foucault's Pendulum
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Foucault's Pendulum

by
3.90  ·  Rating details ·  59,690 ratings  ·  3,326 reviews
Foucault's Pendulum is divided into ten segments represented by the ten Sefiroth. The novel is full of esoteric references to the Kabbalah. The title of the book refers to an actual pendulum designed by the French physicist Léon Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the earth, which has symbolic significance within the novel.

Bored with their work, and after reading too m
...more
Paperback, 623 pages
Published March 5th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 1988)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Foucault's Pendulum, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
J Yes, it's difficult unless you are a human encyclopedia like the writer.
Douglas Roberts I'm pretty sure it's a joke at the expense of the hermetic characters the publishers spend much of their time with, as when it's first used it's about…moreI'm pretty sure it's a joke at the expense of the hermetic characters the publishers spend much of their time with, as when it's first used it's about how they literally all have a certain look about them (Lorenza says "professional sorcerers with faces exactly like professional sorcerers", then describes them. Diotallevi quips "Facies hermetica", and from then on it's an in-joke).(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  59,690 ratings  ·  3,326 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Foucault's Pendulum
Will
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dethpakt
Imagine three sarcastic, over-educated editors who work at a vanity publisher. Owing to their occupation, they naturally end up reading an abundance of books about ridiculously grand conspiracy theories and occult societies - the Freemasons, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati (Bavarian and otherwise), and so on. So they start to play a sort of free-association game: Let's connect all these things, using the same half-mad logic as the authors of these books, into one grand design. Thu ...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
This book consists of predominantly two things: (1) Endless dialogue by mentally unbalanced paranoid conspiracy theorists; (2) Endless dialogue by scholars who study mentally unbalanced paranoid conspiracy theorists. This is not a bad book, but its not an easy read, and not really a particularly enjoyable one. My enjoyment, or lack thereof, was tempered by the fact that I was apparently trying to read one story, but the author was trying to tell a different one. Put another way, I was trying to ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
PLAYFUL:

An Opening Gambol

While I first read this novel in 2009, I bought a second-hand copy in May, 2013 for $7, which I thought was a bargain price for the degree of pleasure it's given me.

Only when I was half way through did I notice a sheet of white paper slipped into the last pages.

It shows four hand-drawn circles, each of which contains the name of a city and a number.

If the numbers represent years, they cover 21 years. If you add 2 and 1, you get the number 3. If you examine the gaps betw
...more
Steven Godin
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When it comes to novels the size of bricks I have to admit to being a bit of a lightweight, only reading a handful of books over 600 pages long, and always enter with some trepidation. Eco's Foucault's Pendulum is not quite brick big, but then it doesn't look like it's been on a diet either.
In terms of sheer scope and passionate ambition this really is something, and it felt like a history lesson and a novel combined, so kudos there.

This is a complex piece of writing that does require hard work
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Il pendolo di Foucault = Foucault’s Pendulum, Umberto Eco
Foucault's Pendulum is a novel by Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco. It was first published in 1988, and an English translation by William Weaver appeared a year later. Foucault's Pendulum is divided into ten segments represented by the ten Sefiroth. The satirical novel is full of esoteric references to Kabbalah, alchemy and conspiracy theory—so many, that critic and novelist Anthony Burgess suggested that it needed an index. The
...more
Traveller
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it

Descartes said: Cogito, ergo sum.
Eco says: I seek meaning, therefore I am human.

It's very hard to succinctly describe exactly what this novel is. From looking at the plot description, you may be forgiven for assuming that it is a book like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, or Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. There is an overlap in the fact that all three books deal with conspiracies that revolve around the mystical and mythical order of the Knight's Templ
...more
Jaidee
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: really not sure
Recommended to Jaidee by: my partner and some dear friends
3 "the last of the pentalogy of puzzlement and perseverance" stars !!!

A very difficult book to both rate and review. As I read this book I reflected on four other books that have been considered great by so many of my friends and in particular, my darling partner.

These five books to me were seeds and shadows of greatness but I felt were so heavily flawed that they became only fair to average good reads for me.

These books are:
1. 1Q84 (2.5 stars)
2.Cloud Atlas (3 stars)
3. A Fine Balance (3 stars)
4.
...more
Jan-Maat
This is a novel that contrasts the acceptance, and delight, in the world as it is with the consequences of the desire to read in meanings to everything that we see about us.

In Eco's earlier book,The Name of the Rose, the detective mystery was parodied and this is taken one step further in this novel. The Detective mystery assumes that there is a mystery that can be solved. It invites investigation. In this novel the constant working deeper into mysteries produces only more obscurity ("the penis
...more
Bradley
The best and the worst thing I can say about this novel is that it's a difficult read.

Sure, the author is Italian, but that doesn't automatically make it difficult, only a novel that I've read out of its normal language.

No, the novel isn't even difficult in the traditional sense, where the sentence structure is hard to follow and there might be four hundred commas per dozen pages. The writing is quite nice.

No, the novel is difficult because it requires the reader to read and understand a whol
...more
Kara Babcock
I read a lot, and the people around me are used to seeing a new book in my hand every day or couple of days. Naturally, they ask me what I'm reading, usually in a way that implies I should divulge more than just the title and the author, which are plainly visible on the cover. How do I respond when I'm reading something so sublime and transcendental as Foucault's Pendulum? It defies ordinary description of plot, because Umberto Eco has again unified his narrative with his themes and characters t ...more
Nathan
May 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults with large vocabularies
Shelves: fiction
The best book I have ever read. It is the creepiest, deepest, and most brilliantly executed piece of literature. Umberto Eco is a genius, and if I could have a conversation with anyone, it would be him.

The book, however, is very difficult to read. The language is dense, and in the first 200 pages, it beats you over the head with history of the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. All of this history is necessary to make the second half cause you to shit your pants. It's basically about these gu
...more
Gerard
Apr 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
One of those books where the author tediously says next to nothing, and all the semi-litterati can't figure out what he's trying to say, so they conclude he must be brilliant. A wasted effort by an otherwise talented (so I hear) author, and that portion of the gullible public that assumes that something profound is being said so long as they can't understand it.
Dolors
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Patient seekers of Truth
Shelves: read-in-2013
“ “Us two? All three of us are in this. If we don’t come out honorably, we’ll all look silly.”
“Silly to whom?”
“Why, to history. Before the tribunal of Truth.”
“Quid est veritas?” Belbo asked.
“Us,” I said.” ” (p.435)


Truth? What is truth? Truth is relative. Or isn’t it?
The fact that Umberto Eco portrays one of his characters quoting Pontius Pilate’s assertion that truth is hard to ascertain with some sort of consistent resonance of a Nietzschian Superman who has passed “beyond good and evil”
...more
Manuel Antão
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1990
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


The Revelation of the Identical:"Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco



"You cannot escape one infinite, I told myself, by fleeing to another; you cannot escape the revelation of the identical by taking refuge in the illusion of the multiple."


In "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco



I've always been a keen follower of Prof. Eco's books, both literary and academic. If there's one question I would like to ask him is this:

"What about the questi
...more
Mattia Ravasi
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Video review

A masterpiece, a must-read, dirò di più, a great novel.

At once an ecyclopedic study of human stupidity, a flight of fancy of historical proportions, and a seven-hundred-page praise of a rather pretty Piemonte hill. Traps you into the same mechanisms that doom its characters, but it's gentle in showing you the trap's functioning, and sympathetic in sharing your pain.
Not for kids who find it challenging to sit still through fifty-minute lectures.
...more
Hadrian
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: italy, fiction
What strikes me on reading this again is not just how much minutiae Eco loves to cram into his books - here we have a list of vintage French cars, histories of the Fourth Crusade, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian esoteric movement, and Afro-Brazilian religion, but what I keep thinking about was his description of the conspiracy theory and how people fall victim to it.

Our protagonists, a gang of layabouts at a vanity publisher, decide to invent a conspiracy theory as a joke. Eventually, peop
...more
Terry
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it could be validly opined that all of Umberto Eco’s novels primarily exist to show off how much he knows. They are all jam-packed with esoteric knowledge from such specialized and varied sources that one wonders how a single human being managed to fit them all into his head, let alone turn them into fodder for a story. In this sense Eco seems much like his own creation of Casaubon from this novel, “the Marlowe of culture”: one able to sift through the vast repository of arcane and seemi ...more
Théodore
Reading " Le Pendule de Foucault ", I understand where Dan Brown and the other amateur writers of sensationalist literature, with esoteric flavor - were inspired. I would never have thought that Eco was the initiator of these tendencies to revive interest in the mysteries of the Templars, and in what is supposed to be behind religious " truths ", on a extensive book, built in a multiple way, combining history with mystery, and finally with a postmodern irony.
The frame story is simple : three fr
...more
40 Forte
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Eco once said that author Dan Brown (Angels & Demons, DaVinci Code, etc) might have very well been one of the characters he created in Focault's Pendulum. Eco uses Focault's pendulum to showcase the absurdity in over analyzing ancient legends or secret societies and in the process creates an intellectual and dizzying tale that stands in direct contrast to the Dan Brown's of the world writing for the pop culture masses.

The work is a discourse in secret societies (Templar Knights, Freemasons, Jesu
...more
Sud666
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-novel
Before we delve too much into this book I have to give this caveat- this book is most certainly not for everyone. You will find it called "Da Vinci Code with a brain" and I can certainly see that aspect. However, this is a dense and deep book. There is a lot going on here, yes some of it is nonsense, and can be a lot to take in. This can lead people to hate Eco's work ("Name of the Rose" suffers from this often, though it is a magnificent book!). A vague working knowledge of Latin, French and It ...more
Michael
020219 from ??? 90s: i think of this as literary philosophical corrective to pynchon’s work (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
...more
J.I.
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2008, read-2017
Between his home and his summer home, Umberto Eco has some 50,000 books to his name. I believe that he has read every one of them, some probably twice. Which is to say that this is an erudite novel. A warning to the reader: you will be wading into lists of reference materials. You are about to be presented with conversations that run for pages that are dedicated solely to the minutiae of conspiracies, most about the Templars. I warned you.

But this book is not just about secret societies and the
...more
Paul
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Eco likes to show off his knowledge and the depth of his reading and he does so with a great flourish in this novel. It’s a difficult one to classify as it crosses genres and throws all sorts of references into the pot. It is really part thriller, part detective with a good dose of conspiracy theory and meandering down the byways of historical obscurity. Of course the whole thing may just be a postmodern joke!
There are lots of nods, winks and jokes throughout. Eco was good friends with the Frenc
...more
Olivia
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
While I loved The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco blew my mind as a teenager with Foucault’s Pendulum.

It’s a book filled with so many interesting tidbits about history, religion, philosophy, esoterica etc. And it’s easy to get lost in the wealth of information Eco so clearly possessed.

But...the beauty of this book is that everyone can enjoy the story.

There’s no need to retain any of the tangents and info, or to look up any of the rare vocabulary, you can just read the story and you’ll still unde
...more
Baba
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, literary-fiction
Did Not Finish. I got up to page 67, of this 600+ page book and thought, I can't take no more of this. Impenetrable and kind of pointless. I'm sure there's probably more to it, and it might have something to do with me reading the last 26 pages during a 34 degree London heatwave, but I'm done with this!
...more
Heidi
Oct 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
Maybe this will make me look stupid... but this book was far too brainy, academic and philosophical to be a really engrossing read. I had to make myself slog through certain portions of this book -- Eco is clearly brilliant, but needs to learn to keep a plot together. Too much extraneous information, too many digressions, too much detailed background information, and you distract from the plot.

This is not an easy read. This book will take patience, ambition, and perseverence to read. It's worth
...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
First Eco book I ever read. It captivated me the same way Borges captivated me. Exploring the borderlands of knowledge and nonsense. The dark side of scholarship and obsession with what lies behind the enigma of the world of appearances. By exploring arcana and being driven by the chimera of secret knowledge Eco takes you to enchanted realms but keeping one firmly in touch with the real world. One of my favorite books.

Update 10/5/2020 My politics is left but I am a sucker for arcana and weird me
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sitting on the Sephiroth Tree
Cabbalists, Illuminati, Knights Templar, Rosicrucian Order… Conspiracies and counter conspiracies.
If it isn’t enough for you than create your own clandestine order with some obscure and opaque agenda… The obscurer the better.
“That was when I saw the Pendulum.
The sphere, hanging from a long wire set into the ceiling of the choir, swayed back and forth with isochronal majesty.
I knew—but anyone could have sensed it in the magic of that serene breathing—that the period w
...more
Andreea
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second attempt at Umberto Eco's novel, the first time I only got through about half of the book before giving it up in favor of, simply put- more "exciting" books. I picked it up again because I had to read a book about secret societies for the Summer Challenge on The Next Best Book Club and the only alternative was Dan Brown's Angels and Demons (and I'm not that keen on Dan Brown's writing style). In the end, once I tried to think everything through, the book proved to be amazing an ...more
Ray
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, audio, conspiracy
It goes without saying that Foucault's Pendulum is one of the most profound novels I've ever read, and is more relevant than ever in these conspiratorial times.

Eco's expertise in the realm of all things occult is astounding, and even more so as he criticizes the fields of "Neo-Templarism" and secret societies which portend to have historical merit and try to influence the world by way of obscure publishing. Then there is the saga of the game which goes out of control, simply amazing writing. Mu
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Foundation / Foundation and Empire / Second Foundation / The Stars, Like Dust / The Naked Sun / I, Robot
  • The Glass Bead Game
  • Ficciones
  • Ο κύριός μου Αλκιβιάδης
  • Η κάθοδος των εννιά
  • The Master and Margarita
  • The Club Dumas
  • Τα κακομαθημένα παιδιά της Ιστορίας: Η διαμόρφωση του νεοελληνικού κράτους, 18ος-21ος αιώνας
  • Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
  • Kerudung Merah Kirmizi
  • Post Mortem
  • Steppenwolf
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The Castle
  • The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (An Essay in Atheistic Religion)
  • Λεμονοδάσος
See similar books…
8,680 followers
Umberto Eco was an Italian writer of fiction, essays, academic texts, and children's books. A professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco’s brilliant fiction is known for its playful use of language and symbols, its astonishing array of allusions and references, and clever use of puzzles and narrative inventions. His perceptive essays on modern culture are filled with a delightful sen ...more

Related Articles

In The Prague Cemetery, a new novel from the Renaissance man who gave us The Name of the Rose, a master forger stokes the flames of conspiracy in...
78 likes · 12 comments
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” 1076 likes
“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.” 662 likes
More quotes…