Foucault's Pendulum (Paperback)
“An encyclopedic detective story . . . An intellectual triumph.”—Anthony Burgess
“Foucault's Pendulum is Eco's magical mystery tour of the Western mind. . . . With this book, Eco puts himself in the grand and acerbic tradition of Petronius, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire.”—Chicago Tribune
“Rich and witty.”—Newsweek
Infused with history and crackling suspense, Umberto Eco’s celebrated international bestseller—a cerebral classic, prescient of our own times, about a literary joke that goes terribly awry, unexpectedly plunging its creators into mortal danger.
A man named Colonel Ardenti tells three cynical book editors that he has discovered a coded message about a centuries-old Knights Templar plan to tap a mystic source of power greater than atomic energy. The editors, bored from tooling with manuscripts on the occult and inspired by the colonel’s outlandish claims, devise a literary prank for their own amusement. Using a computer, into which they enter bits of information on the Knights Templar, Satanic initiation rites, Rosicrucianism, the measurements of the Great Pyramid, and supernatural and occult phenomenon, they create a map indicating a point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled—a point located at Foucault's Pendulum in Paris.
The editors are convinced they’ve devised the ultimate literary joke, a game to consume conspiracy theorists, mystical buffs, and everyone else fool enough to play.
But their joke becomes all too terrifyingly real when people begin to disappear mysteriously, beginning with the Colonel. . . .
Umberto Eco (1932–2016) was the author of numerous essay collections and seven novels, including The Name of the Rose, The Prague Cemetery, and Inventing the Enemy. He received Italy’s highest literary award, the Premio Strega; was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government; and was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
“As brilliant and quirky as The Name of the Rose, as mischievous and wide-ranging . . . A virtuoso performance.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“An encyclopedic detective story about a search for the center of an ancient, still-living conspiracy of men who seek not merely power over the earth but the power of the earth itself . . . An intellectual triumph.” — New York Times Book Review
“Reads as if it were written by the most popular lecturer on campus with the instincts of a Catskill Mountains tumbler who keeps the one-liners coming . . . On almost every page, Eco comes up with some fresh notion or turn of phrase that displays his original mind. . . . Once the reader gets on the Eco carousel it's hard to get off.” — New York Times
“Over the course of the book, we encounter medieval history, mysticism, Gnosticism, cabalism, time charts and numerology, pagan rituals, World War II nostalgia, Brazilian macumba religion, satires of contemporary Italian leftism and intellectual life, jabs at publishing practices, a computer named Abulafia, and . . . nods toward Sam Spade and other pop-culture icons. . . . Eco chooses the path less chosen by intellectual novelists—common sense. And that has made all the difference.” — Philadelphia Inquirer
“Foucault's Pendulum is Eco's magical mystery tour of the Western mind. . . . With this book, Eco puts himself in the grand and acerbic tradition of Petronius, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire.” — Chicago Tribune
“Rich and witty.” — Newsweek
“A salubrious feast of words and ideas . . . A seriocomic interpretation of the modern mind. Like Erasmus and Swift, Eco plays the fool to teach us better about ourselves.” — Christian Science Monitor
“By turns scholarly, spooky, satirical and deadly. . . . No reader is likely to stop reading. Or want to.” — Washington Post