Foucault's Pendulum

Umberto Eco

Illustrated by Neil Packer

Umberto Eco’s paranoid world of conspiracy theories is as entertaining as it is enlightening.

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Foucault's Pendulum

Belbo, Diotallevi and Casaubon are three editors at a Milan publishing house specialising in vanity projects. Bored with their work and jaded from reading endless manuscripts dealing with the mystical and the supernatural, they decide to amuse themselves by creating their very own conspiracy theory. Known as ‘the Plan’ – a hoax that connects the Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times – they produce a map predicting the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled: a point located in Paris, at Foucault’s pendulum. However, as they become increasingly obsessed with the intricacies of the Plan, real conspiracy theorists begin taking an interest, and what started as an amusing diversion soon becomes a game of life or death …

‘Brilliant, funny, encompassing everything you ever wanted to know about practically everything (including numerology, James Bond’s foes, and the construction of sewers), this book is both extraordinarily learned and well plotted’
The Sunday Times

Divided into ten segments, in reference to the ten Sefirot of the Jewish Kabbalah, this witty and intelligent novel takes the reader on a dizzying journey across the esoteric and the strange. For each segment and for the frontispiece, illustrator Neil Packer has produced an image as dense and as packed with detail as Eco’s novel. The elegant binding features a stylised rendering of the pendulum itself.

Umberto Eco was an acclaimed novelist, essayist, philosopher and literary critic. He was also an influential figure in the fields of semiotics, anthropology and the study of medieval aesthetics – an eclectic range of interests that is evident in Foucault’s joyful exploration of myriad subjects, from the Grail to New Atlantis to numerology. This edition has been produced in series with the 2001 Folio edition of The Name of the Rose.

‘An intellectual adventure story, as sensational, thrilling and packed with arcana as Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Count of Monte Cristo
Washington Post Book World

Production Details

  • Bound in buckram, blocked with a design by the artist
  • Set in Garamond
  • 632 pages
  • Frontispiece and 10 colour illustrations
  • 10″ x 6¼″

About the Author

Umberto Eco (1932–2016) was a semiotician, philosopher and novelist. He studied Medieval Philosophy and Literature at the University of Turin, where he later became a lecturer. His career in academia included posts at Yale University, Harvard University, the University of the Republic of San Marino and the University of Bologna, where he was Professor Emeritus and President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici (Graduate School for the Study of the Humanities). From 1954–9 Eco was also the Cultural Editor for Radiotelevisione Italiana. He was the author of several non-fiction works, including A Theory of Semiotics (1975), The Role of the Reader (1979) and Travels in Hyperreality (1983), and three books for children. His first novel was The Name of the Rose in 1980 (Folio edition 2001), followed by Foucault’s Pendulum (1988), The Island of the Day Before (1994), Baudolino (2000), The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (2005), The Prague Cemetery (2010) and Numero Zero (2015).

About the Illustrator

Neil Packer was born in Birmingham in 1961, and trained at the Colchester School of Art before becoming a full-time illustrator in 1984 with the publication of his first children’s book. He has had a long career working in design, publishing and advertising, mostly in the USA, and has recently illustrated children’s versions of The Iliad and The Odyssey for Walker Books. He has completed eight previous titles for The Folio Society, including I, Claudius (1994), The Name of the Rose (2001), Catch-22 (2004) and One Hundred Years of Solitude (2006). Packer’s work has been exhibited in London at The Chris Beetles Gallery, The Royal Academy, The British Museum and The British Library, with solo shows at The Portal Gallery and the Illustration Cupboard. His work has also been shown in Singapore and the USA.


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