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R.I.P. Harper Lee. Umberto Eco

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22 Feb 2016 23:13 #223028 by MacDirk Diggler
To Kill a Mockingbird makes most top ten American novels lists. Was #37 AFI top 100 movies. Atticus Finch #1 AFI movie hero.

Name of the Rose was pretty good medieval whodunit (and movie). Foucalt's Pendulum was probably the direct precursor to Dan Brown writing all those Da Vinci's Code type conspiracy books.

All in all, two very influential writers......RIP

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22 Feb 2016 23:34 #223029 by jeb
Replied by jeb on topic R.I.P. Harper Lee. Umberto Eco

Alastair MacDirk wrote: To Kill a Mockingbird makes most top ten American novels lists. Was #37 AFI top 100 movies. Atticus Finch #1 AFI movie hero.

Name of the Rose was pretty good medieval whodunit (and movie). Foucalt's Pendulum was probably the direct precursor to Dan Brown writing all those Da Vinci's Code type conspiracy books.

All in all, two very influential writers......RIP

FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM is one of my favorite books. It's genius. One of the best translated works I have ever read. He wrote an essay about translation that is fascinating all by itself. His essays on beauty and ugliness are also great. He was a treasure.

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22 Feb 2016 23:38 #223030 by Not Sure
That's a terrible thing to hang on Eco, blaming him for Dan Brown.

He was much more than that. And since that comes up so much he had this to say:

Umberto Eco wrote: I was obliged to read it because everybody was asking me about it. My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel Foucault’s Pendulum, which is about people who start believing in occult stuff.
– But you yourself seem interested in the kabbalah, alchemy and other occult practices explored in the novel.
No. In Foucault’s Pendulum I wrote the grotesque representation of these kind of people. So Dan Brown is one of my creatures.

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23 Feb 2016 00:13 - 23 Feb 2016 00:14 #223031 by MacDirk Diggler
Blaming him?

Perhaps the comparisons between Browns books and Foucalt's Pendulum come all the time because there is something to see there.

Perhaps Umerto had those snarky comments about Brown from jealousy that Da Vinci's Code outsold Foucalt's by a factor of Ten. No, of course that doesn't mean Dan Brown is the second coming of Faulkner. But the comparison is legit. No need to get uppity about it.
Last edit: 23 Feb 2016 00:14 by MacDirk Diggler.

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23 Feb 2016 07:43 #223034 by Legomancer
To Kill a Mockingbird is a genuine classic, no need to go into detail there. It's beloved for a reason.

And yeah, Eco was a shocker. I guess I assumed he was younger than he was. I too adore Foucault's Pendulum and have read it several times. I also enjoyed Name of the Rose and The Island of the Day Before. I have Baudolino but haven't read it yet.

The thing with Dan Brown is, the stuff he did in DVC wasn't anything new. The conspiracies and theories he's exploring there were already fairly old news. They were set down in the '82 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which is pretty much where the whole thing comes from. (Not saying Brown plagiarized or anything; he explicitly and implicitly refers to that book; one of the antagonists in DVC is Leigh Teabing, which is a play on the names of two of the authors of HBHG.) By the time I read DVC the big secret behind it was one I'd read about a million times in other books (including Foucault's Pendulum.)

FP wasn't a precursor to DVC, it was making fun of conspiracy theories in general. It's mocking a scene that was already established before DVC came late to the party. For me it was the antidote to things like The Illuminatus! Trilogy (along with James Randi's Flim-Flam!, another very important book for me).
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23 Feb 2016 10:18 #223049 by Not Sure
Yeah, I'm not bent out of shape about the Dan Brown thing. That was tongue in cheek.

It's a bad (but common) comparison for the reasons Legomancer stated. There's some overlap in the subject matter, but from such a different angle. Brown's novel is "oh no, SRS conspiracy for our heroes", Eco's protagonists are dupes. However, the book is dense enough that it may not come across, and so the comparison gets trotted out over and over.

I thought Illuminatus! was an antidote to the cut-out bin conspiracy theory books as well, but maybe that's just me. (and yeah, I've read most of RAW's other stuff too. Doesn't mean I believe it.)

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23 Feb 2016 10:54 #223050 by MacDirk Diggler
If one was to go to the homepage of Umberto Eco... UmbertoEco.com with which Umberto Eco presumably had some involvement. One would see on the main page 7th sentence... His 1988 novel Foucault's Pendulum could be described as a "thinking man's Da Vinci Code".

Oblviously, DVC stuck in his craw. It's too bad he couldn't find a way to rise above and just ignore DVC.

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23 Feb 2016 11:12 - 23 Feb 2016 12:33 #223051 by Sagrilarus
Foucault's Pendulum is written from the perspective of a Skeptic, Da Vinci Code is written from the perspective of a loony-toon kool-aid-drinking believer. That's a huge difference, one that affects me directly.

It also doesn't help that DaVinci code is pretty damn pulp (with all the standard bullshit all-the-characters-are-related tropes that I detest), and got sued for plagiarism. I read DaVinci code and about three quarters of his second novel, the one where the main character falls out of a helicopter from a few thousand feet up and lives. It was becoming apparent that there were much better uses of my time.

Eco would do well to cut some space from Dan Brown. Foucault's Pendulum was excellent. I don't use that word with fiction very often.

S.
Last edit: 23 Feb 2016 12:33 by Sagrilarus.
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23 Feb 2016 11:27 #223054 by Shellhead
I read both The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum when I was in my early 20s. I confess that I became impatient with the heavy exposition involving European history in both books, and skimmed at times. I should probably give both Eco books another shot one of these days. I got The Island of the Day Before as a gift a few years later, but couldn't even make it through the first dozen pages.

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23 Feb 2016 11:31 #223056 by Space Ghost

Sagrilarus wrote: . I don't use that word with fiction very often.

S.


Snobby snobberson.

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23 Feb 2016 12:20 #223059 by Sagrilarus

Space Ghost wrote:

Sagrilarus wrote: . I don't use that word with fiction very often.

S.


Snobby snobberson.


It's not my fault it's beneath me.
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23 Feb 2016 14:54 #223076 by Columbob

Shellhead wrote: I read both The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum when I was in my early 20s. I confess that I became impatient with the heavy exposition involving European history in both books, and skimmed at times. I should probably give both Eco books another shot one of these days. I got The Island of the Day Before as a gift a few years later, but couldn't even make it through the first dozen pages.


There are also tons of latin sections in The Name of the Rose which do nothing to ease the reader along.

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23 Feb 2016 15:52 #223084 by Shellhead

Columbob wrote:

Shellhead wrote: I read both The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum when I was in my early 20s. I confess that I became impatient with the heavy exposition involving European history in both books, and skimmed at times. I should probably give both Eco books another shot one of these days. I got The Island of the Day Before as a gift a few years later, but couldn't even make it through the first dozen pages.


There are also tons of latin sections in The Name of the Rose which do nothing to ease the reader along.


Good point. I struggled with the Latin by falling back on my three years of Spanish, one year of etymology, and a smattering of Italian words. I did the same when dealing with the character who babbled in euro-polyglot.

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02 Mar 2016 13:24 #223648 by JoelCFC25

Shellhead wrote: I got The Island of the Day Before as a gift a few years later, but couldn't even make it through the first dozen pages.

It took me 3 attempts to complete the long death march to the end of this book. The rest of his I enjoyed a lot, but this one was a remarkable dud for me.

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