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SPOILER POLICY: this particular wiki is intended for people who have already read Foucault's Pendulum once. First-time readers are recommended to just read the book without any sort of guide. Spoilers may be contained herein.

Please read the Foucault's Pendulum wiki guidelines, but above all, do not add information unless it is notable, relevant and interesting. We don't need Wikipedia links for every last place and person mentioned in the novel.

Page X

Sample entry
Information directly relevant to the quotation.

  • Tangentially relevant information (relating to Eco's other writings, etc).
  • Your own interpretations and insights. Bleakhouse <--Use three ~ to sign your name

Page 21

A common Italian surname.

  • Any other significance in the name?
  • a first name used in the Middle Ages and early Christian period as 'Diotallevi' (= Dio t'allevi) meaning "may God raise you" given in good omen, sometimes to orphaned children. (from Italian allevare) Italian Surnames: Etymology and Origin [1] Gordonio 18:36, 30 March 2008 (MST)
  • Eco's prose contains many autobiographical elements. Eco's grandfather was a foundling, and the last name Eco is said to be an acronym of "ex coelis oblatus" (A gift from the heavens), similar to Diotallevi's history.

In Norse mythology, Gudrun, who is called Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied, was the sister of Gunnar. Gudrun fell in love with Sigurd, who didn't care for her, because he was in love with the valkyrie Brynhild, to whom he gave the ring Andvarinaut. Wikipedia

  • Why might she have this unusual name?
  • Probably just a suitably severe and old-fashioned name for a woman characterized by "acid remarks" and "muttering." Bleakhouse
  • Nibelungen... Related somehow to Wagner (and Dr. Wagner)? Bleakhouse 12:28, 2 March 2008 (MST)

According to Eco, "I was thinking of Isaac Casaubon, who in 1614 demonstrated that the Corpus Hermeticum was a forgery; and if one reads Foucault's Pendulum, one can find some parallels between what the great philologist understood and what my character finally understands... one can read my novel and understand my Casaubon even without knowing anything of the historical Casaubon. Many authors like to put certain shibboleths into their texts, for the benefit of a few experienced readers". (Confessions of a Young Novelist, 51). In Confessions, Eco talks about finding out that a character in George Eliot's Middlemarch shares the same name, and how that inspired him to add the line in Chapter 10 of the English edition of FP that mentions Eliot in an effort to disavow a connection.

Page 24

Oh what a beautiful morning at the end of November
A pastiche of famous first lines. Eco included a number of similar pastiches in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.

"Oh what a beautiful morning" - possibly from the musical, Oklahoma? Lyrics

"It was a beautiful morning at the end of November" is the first sentence of the first chapter of The Name of the Rose. Eco also quotes his other works in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, including the beautiful final sentences of Foucault's Pendulum.

"in the beginning was the word" - John 1:1. Full text Eco also used this quotation as the first line of the prologue of The Name of the Rose. It seems to have a particular significance to Eco, whose field of semiotics revolves around words and signs.

"sing to me goddess" - first line of The Iliad. Full text

"now is the winter of our discontent" - First line of Shakespeare's Richard III. Full text

"parakalo, parakalo" - Greek for "please please".

O joy...
Another pastiche of quotations.

"O my platonic reader-writer racked by a most platonic insomnia." - A play on Joyce's famous "ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia" (Finnegan's Wake, 120.13-14).

"borne on golden pinions"
Appears in a few places, possibly first in John Collett's poem, Maiden with Thee.

Page 25

to each memorable image you attach a thought
Obviously relates to Eco's field of Semiotics.

O Raimundo, O Camillo

Page 26

"Once I know that I can remember whenever I like, I forget"
See Eco's essay on writing and memory, Vegetal and Mineral Memory: "Writing was dangerous because it decreased the powers of mind by offering human beings a petrified soul, a caricature of mind, a mineral memory."

Page 32


Umberto Eco's homeland.

Page 41

"For I am the first and the last..."
These verses (although not the name Sophia) come from the Nag Hammadi library (popularly known as The Gnostic Gospels), a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered in Egypt in 1945. Text of the quoted verses.

Page 42

Eco has been heavily influenced by the works of Jorge Luis Borges. See Borges and the Name of the Rose, Jorge Borges, Author of Name of the Rose, and Eco's response to papers such as these in his essay, "Borges and My Anxiety of Influence" in On Literature.

Page 45

Garamond Press
Possibly named in reference to the French publisher Claude Garamond (c.1480–1561) and/or his eponymous typeface. Note that Eco named Bodoni, the protagonist in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, after another historical publisher and typeface.

  • Possibly also in reference to the Guermantes, characters in Proust, whose name is pronounced closely to an English pronunciation of "Garamond."


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