Monday, September 03, 2007

Lovecraft Allusion in Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum

Jack Faber recently alerted me to this cool quote. He says,

"...near the end of chapter 113 of Foucault's Pendulum: Then I saw Lorenza slumped at Belbo's feet, her face waxen, and Pierre, holding up the red blade, shouted: "Enfin, le sacrifice humain!" Turning toward the nave, he said in a loud voice: "I'a Cthulhu! I'a S'ha-t'n!" "

Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum (1988). Eco was born in 1932 in Alesandria, Italy and is professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna.

1 comment:

John Rowlands said...

Food for thought:

Foucault’s Pendulum, centres on an over-erudite narrator, who leads the reader on a wild-goose chase of abstruse false tracks in an obsessive attempt to decipher a fragment of French text which he takes to be a dark conspiracy to rule the world but which, as his wife eventually informs him, turns out to be no more than a laundry list. This lesson in the foolishness of conspiracy theories and perverse readings of literary texts, culminates in the spectacular death of the hero’s friend, strangled by the actual Foucault pendulum in Paris. Could this have inspired Poe's Pit and the Pendulum?

Then in his next novel, The Island of the Day Before, a lyrical tale clearly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s MS Found in a Bottle, a Piedmontese shipwreck survivor in search of love and the meaning of life, finds himself on board a deserted ship in the South Pacific in 1643, headed for a mysterious island of salvation. Love letters and memories of unquenched passions alternate with images of the clocks and maps used by an old Jesuit to sound the depths of the universe as an obsessive narrator on an impossible voyage struggles to put names to the stream of unknown objects he encounters.

Lovecraft and Poe read the same great works of the 14th century and used the ideas contained in Eco's books to create equal enjoyable masterpieces.


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