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June 30, 2006 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Foucault’s Pendulum Art Inspired by Umberto Eco’s novel, entitled: Foucault’s Pendulum the artist Lukas Arciniegas has created a series of beautiful illustrations. Also of note: The Holy War: Mac VS Dos [Do check out the sidebar] "Faith in Fakes"? Also see: an actual pendulum. And Dan Brown? Bleh...
posted by Unregistered User (33 comments total)

 
I've always thought that Foucalt's Pendulum was the book that Da Vinci Code readers really need to read.
posted by empath at 5:28 PM on June 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


There is a Foucalt's Pendulum at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
posted by lee at 5:47 PM on June 30, 2006


My dear friend, I say thank you!
posted by CountOfStGermain at 5:52 PM on June 30, 2006


What empath said.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:54 PM on June 30, 2006


What joe lisboa said
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:56 PM on June 30, 2006


What UseyurBrain said. With the addition that the end of that book remains one of the best ever, in my opinion. I realize this is a somewhat contentious issue, but people who don't agree with me are just wrong.

I'm not sure about the art linked yet, though.
posted by freebird at 6:01 PM on June 30, 2006


what freebird said.

some years ago i had an opportunity to visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers in paris - it was mostly closed and what was open was dusty, cluttered, and poorly lit. what exhibits there were had been awkwardly arranged and the place generally looked like it had been set up in a hurry with little regard for the eventuality of an interested museumgoer from the states.

at first i was a bit disappointed, mostly because i had built this place up as a glistening showpiece befitting the climax of one of my personal favorite novels. then i realized it was an ideal place for casaubon to hide - a purloined cabalist letter desperate to cling to the only ratty, dusty absolute he had left.
posted by the painkiller at 6:28 PM on June 30, 2006


I loved Foucault's Pendulum. Then I read Baudolino, and eh. Does he have anything else as good as FP?
posted by solotoro at 6:32 PM on June 30, 2006


The Name Of The Rose is an excellent read.
posted by the painkiller at 6:39 PM on June 30, 2006


The opening of that book inspired me to visit the Museé des Arts et Metiers when I made it to Paris. What amazing materials they have there.

The book itself is definitely what those above said, but it is also far more challenging than Dan Brown's. What makes it more engrossing for some makes it hard for others to fully access. Someone ought to produce a fully annotated edition. I very much enjoyed it, but undoubtedly not at the same level as it's enjoyed by someone more widely read, and better versed in history and geography (not to mention various Classical and European languages).

On preview, when were you there, the painkiller? In 2002 I thought it was pretty durn amazing. I had expected dusty and cluttered thanks to Eco, but that's not what I found.
posted by Songdog at 6:40 PM on June 30, 2006


I liked Name of the Rose and Baudolino, but neither completely rocked my world the way FP did. I don't want to give anything away, but the way he pulls you into the conspiracy theories and gets you pantingly engrossed and then drops that ending...It seriously altered how I think about a lot of things like History and Truth and Meaning.
posted by freebird at 6:46 PM on June 30, 2006


Some interesting stuff there, thanks.

I finally finished FP myself recently, and while it's definitely far and away better than anything that crapweasel Brown has put out, I have to admit I had trouble slogging through the beginning. Eco really challenges his readers to stick it out, but the payoff is great.

The Name of the Rose was great too, but there's a great deal of 14th-century church politics and endless discussions of the different flavors of heresy that were popular at the time mixed in with the murder mystery and the labyrinth. If you're interested in that sort of thing, check it out, yo.
posted by Gator at 6:49 PM on June 30, 2006


The Name of the Rose was also a pretty good movie for have been made from a novel. Of COURSE the novel was better, but I liked the movie as well. Foucaults Pendulum is an excellent read. I also liked his most recent book "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" for which there is an annotation project. Since I am a fanboy of Eco's I also enjoyed Baudolino and "The Island of the Day Before" which deals with the attempt to conquer longitude. Fascinating stuff which is researched in detail.
posted by Eekacat at 7:02 PM on June 30, 2006


I realize this is a somewhat contentious issue, but people who don't agree with me are just wrong.

I can't believe it's taken this long for someone to crystallize web debate down to its pure, glittering essence like this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:18 PM on June 30, 2006


I read FP, and I still can't believe I finished it. It was like spending a week inside the mind of an erudite version of the Time Cube guy - interesting at first, then really tedious.

If that makes me sound stupid, then so be it.
posted by fungible at 7:31 PM on June 30, 2006


It was like spending a week inside the mind of an erudite version of the Time Cube guy

This is a key point: much of the exposition about hermetic magic and magical traditions has as much real content as Time Cube guy. I struggled with this book for quite awhile, trying to make sense of what I was reading, until I finally twigged that it means nothing at all. That's Eco's point: well-written rubbish is still rubbish. Once I relaxed and just let the words flow over me, the book was a much more enjoyable read.
posted by SPrintF at 8:20 PM on June 30, 2006


Name of the Rose requires some serious background in Medieval history to appreciate fully which most people don't have. For example most people mistakingly think it is a parable about "science versus religion", when in fact it's about the scholastic method (Eco's medeival philosophy doctoral thesis was on Thomas Aquinas). I know some about medieval history and philosophy but not enough yet to tackle NoTR. Of course it can be enjoyed as simply a good story which I've seen the movie and it is.
posted by stbalbach at 9:17 PM on June 30, 2006


Thanks for this link -- FP is next on my Stack-o-Books. For those interesting in reading Name of the Rose: it's been years since I read it, but as I recall, if you don't have at least some knowledge of Latin (and related languages), you may have some difficulty getting through certain passages.
posted by infidelpants at 9:32 PM on June 30, 2006


The Name of The Rose is a little more accessible than all that, I think.

The problem with seeing the movie before tackling the book is then you're stuck with the image and sound of Sean Connery every time William of Baskerville opens his mouth which is really quite a lot. It took me significant effort to expel this from my mind and it had been a good 10 years between me seeing the movie and reading the book.
posted by furiousthought at 9:41 PM on June 30, 2006


"The Island of the Day Before" which deals with the attempt to conquer longitude

Hot damn. I tried that when I was sixteen but couldn't get into it—but I just got off The Baroque Cycle and find the idea of ships and the search for longitude much more compelling than I did as a highschool sophomore.

I read FP, and I still can't believe I finished it. It was like spending a week inside the mind of an erudite version of the Time Cube guy - interesting at first, then really tedious.

Man, I loved FP. The perfect counterpart to the Illuminatus! trilogy, which I also love—two wonderfully sharp approaches to conspiracy theory from wildly different directions.

What struck me about FP was that, painted against the wonderfully dizzing conspiracy nonsense, Eco managed to paint such a beautiful memoir of faith and disillusionment, of the central character's struggle with his own disappointment in the world. Moments completely independent and free from the dark secrets and such—just a young man on a hill blowing a trumpet in the doomed forever of his fleeting youth.

Just, goddam. What a book.
posted by cortex at 9:43 PM on June 30, 2006


I once named my computer Abulafia...
posted by DataPacRat at 9:52 PM on June 30, 2006


Another reader who adores FP -- it's possibly my favorite contemporary novel of all time. The first time I read it, I was on a train and became so engrossed in it that I missed my stop and ended up in another state.

And I believe I've read that Eco made that first 100 or so pages a real slog on purpose -- he (allegedly) wanted to weed out the readers who didn't have the tenacity to stick it out, and reward those of us who did.
posted by scody at 9:52 PM on June 30, 2006


Umberto Eco is the best. Awesome FPP. thanks.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:24 PM on June 30, 2006


I just got off The Baroque Cycle and find the idea of ships and the search for longitude much more compelling than I did as a highschool sophomore.

I loved this transition. IoDB is a lot more fun when you mix a little N. de Duillers-via-Stephenson into the della Griva character. Eco's one of my favorite authors; I only wish I was s-m-r-t enough to tackle his non-fiction stuff.

his most recent book "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" for which there is an annotation project.

Thanks for this. I was a bit let down when I read this one--admittedly very quickly and not very deeply--and was wondering if there were some things I missed. I just figured that I couldn't relate as well as he intended 'cause I'm just a little whippersnapper who probably hasn't fallen in love yet.

On topic, this art is awesome. I'm just wrapping up a little book of short stories (had just finished The Baroque Cycle [again] too and needed a breather) and this has inspired me to read through my Eco fiction again, beginning with FP. Thanks!
posted by carsonb at 10:26 PM on June 30, 2006


Got past the first 100 pages, during which i became engrossed. Soon afterward i got annoyed (somewhere around the introduction of Mickey Mouse). Or disappointed.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:36 PM on June 30, 2006


Foucault's Pendulum is one of my favorite books (I have an awful lot of them, though, it must be said). The art site, though, annoyed me quickly if mildly with its scrolly framed clunkiness.

My attention span is not what it once was, I admit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:22 AM on July 1, 2006


Name of the Rose
Foucault's Pendulum
Kant and the Platypus

I've tried to like Eco's work, but he hasn't helped me. Each book has started in optimism, wandered through concern and annoyance and landed, uncomfortably, in disappointment. I realise that he has an awful lot to say, but it seems as though he has far too much time invested in the minutiae of the background and not nearly enough in the story.

Serendipities: Language and Lunacy will be my last attempt before I consign him to the list of things for which my life is too short. He would be joining the art his work inspired.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 4:20 AM on July 1, 2006


And I believe I've read that Eco made that first 100 or so pages a real slog on purpose -- he (allegedly) wanted to weed out the readers who didn't have the tenacity to stick it out, and reward those of us who did.

Jesus. Guess I should hunt down the English language version for this summer's reading, then.

Because those first 100 pages in Italian are a total bitch if you are a lazy autodiadect like myself.

Difficult passages in Italian wear me out and with FP I was falling asleep every 5th page or so. Not helpful to following the plot. I put it away until I finished Name of the Rose and will be digging it back out this summer.

posted by romakimmy at 4:22 AM on July 1, 2006


Songdog, i visited in the summer (july or august) of 1994. part of the museum was closed, possibly for renovations, and i think they had moved some of the exhibits from the areas they were renovating and mixed them in with the existing exhibits in rooms they were not renovating. the pendulum had been stopped and recall that room as being particularly haphazard. some rooms i even had to go hunting for the lightswitch. don't get me wrong, the pieces the musem has for exhibit are fascinating, but at the time it was a rather incoherent experience. which ultimately seemed to be fitting, somehow - if i hadn't read foucault's pendulum before i had visited i probably would have reacted very differently.
posted by the painkiller at 6:06 AM on July 1, 2006


I really enjoy Eco's novels and his essays. The linked art, not so much.
posted by everichon at 8:55 AM on July 1, 2006


I've always thought that Foucalt's Pendulum was the book that Da Vinci Code readers really need to read. - empath

I have always described the Da Vinci Code, as a hamburger and fries with a shake version of Foucault's Pendulum, which i see as more of a piece of fillet mignon with a light au juis, some steamed asparagus and a nice pilaf with a fine glass of red.

That said i vastly prefer "Island of the Day Before," Eco's treatment of the main character and his descent into insanity is truly masterful.
posted by sourbrew at 11:59 AM on July 1, 2006


Thanks
posted by Smedleyman at 12:22 AM on July 2, 2006


Someone ought to produce a fully annotated edition

Seconded. I didn't enjoy FP nearly as much as Name of the Rose; I might have gotten more out of it if it had had a shitload of informative footnotes. Of course, I'm a sucker for footnotes. But no, David Foster Wallace is not my favorite author.

Can't say I'm crazy about the linked art; I am curious, though, as to why IV shows the end of Ch. 17 and the beginning of Ch. 18 of Part 13 of Doctor Zhivago in Russian.
posted by languagehat at 11:43 AM on July 2, 2006


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