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was causabon set up?

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EdMohs I keep wondering if Casaubon duped into this whole encounter with Belbo? Anyway just looking for some light discussion on what is my favorite novel and author.


message 2: by John (new) - added it

John I'd say yes. Umberto would say, "no."


Zulfiya Light discussion on Umberto Eco's novels? I would say his books are an eternal horn of plenty for a discussions with allusions and citations and wonderful manipulations with the language and ideas, but light discussion - nahh:-)His is one of few authors in my ever-top list.


message 4: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe I'm with Zulfiya, no light discussion on Umberto's work. There are too many levels to his writing.
I am grateful that you started a discussion though. Thank you for that stedmo.


Ascalon Yes, I think he was set up.


Ryan Yes, I believe he was set up. But not to meet Belbo. He was set up once he started working at Garamond. And form there it took off.


message 7: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam The one problem with thinking that Casaubon was set up is that he is revealed, toward the end of the novel, to be an unreliable narrator. He's clearly paranoid, and he isn't even certain whether the events in the Conservatoire actually happened, which demonstrates a break from reality. The reader then HAS to wonder when that break occurred. For all we know, none of it was real. Showing Casaubon to be unreliable toward the end of the novel generates suspicion over every dialogue and every event that character narrated throughout the entire book. For example (and this isn't very likely, it's just a hypothetical), it's possible that Belbo only existed as a character Casaubon made up, that he rented a place as Belbo, wrote up those entries on Abulafia as Belbo, etc. Eco could be saying, "It's literally madness to delve too deep into conspiracy theories" as easily as he could be saying, "Conspiracy theories exist because people want/need them to."

But at the heart of it, there can never be an absolute answer to the question of whether or not Casaubon was set up. Personally, I don't see a motive for it, nor is there any really significant textual evidence to show that there's any validity to Casaubon's paranoia.


Ryan Pam wrote: "The one problem with thinking that Casaubon was set up is that he is revealed, toward the end of the novel, to be an unreliable narrator. He's clearly paranoid, and he isn't even certain whether t..."

That is a very interesting take on the story as a whole. I think that your suggestion as to Eco's premise may spot on.


Emanuel Landeholm Yes, I think Casaubon (good cause) was set up. He was set up by Eco, the ultimate Deus ex machina.


message 10: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam Thanks, Ryan. As I was reading the end of the novel, something about the tone reminded me of the narrator in Charlotte Perkins-Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," and the more I think about it, the more the paranoia angle seems to fit.


message 11: by Lydiabolmer (new)

Lydiabolmer Foucaults pendulum
Yes, I came to the conclusion, that he was set up. In the end we see all the people who all belonged to TRES. I think, that is was no accident, that he met Aglie in Brazil. I think Aglie had an eye on him. I wonder, if Garamont wanted him to work with him, so he could see, what he was up to, too. Maybe also his neighbour, I think Salomon or so, the taxidermist who stuffed animals, lived close to him in order to have an eye on him. I think they suspected, that he had the paper , which Ardenti had found in provins. But it was definitely his own decision to come up with the _Big Plan".


message 12: by Rui (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rui I don't think he was set up, the tone at the end of the novel becomes increasingly paranoid because of all things that are happening, the ideas that stick with me for this part of the novel are:"although they thread in darkness they believe they are enlightened" and "being superstitious brings you bad luck"


EdMohs Thanks everyone!
Unfortunately I didn't keep up with this thread.
I just found it-- after a long absence
But to comment on my light comment-
I meant that ironically
O the Eco is deep Ha Ha

excellent comments
much to ponder
back to the text


message 14: by EdMohs (last edited Sep 09, 2013 08:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

EdMohs just to follow up

couldn't find any clear textual confirmation
that Belbo
or anyone else set up Casaubon

So I reversed the theory!
Was Casaubon the manipulator?
Was he actually the Grand Master ?
or an Unkown Superior?

textually-- His innocence seems certain
Yet, there are 2 references
(that I found )
that may support the theory
that Casaubon was presciently sly
and may have over played his hand,
showed his cards.

One was in the interview with Ardenti
He corrects Ardenti on a very subtle point
about the Stone.
-pg 142
This might show a previous foresight?

and the second reference
is when Casaubon is speaking to
DeAngelis in the library
-pg 314
that's a real interesting dialogue

but I'm willing to accept
the text as straight forward
everything is random
the Plan came together out of that

I wonder what happened to the archived
previous group discussion we had?
I guess it got deleted?

anyway its fun book to discuss


EdMohs today is Leon Foucault 194th birthday
Google as an interactive pendulum
set up on their search page
check it out!

60 pegs doubled = 120
and 36 labyrinths
hhhmmmmmm...


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