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Foucault's Pendulum original title: It was first published in , and an English translation by William Weaver appeared a year later. Foucault's Pendulum is divided into ten segments represented by the ten Sefiroth. The satirical novel is full of esoteric references to Kabbalah , alchemy , and conspiracy theory —so many that critic and novelist Anthony Burgess suggested that it needed an index. Some believe that it refers to Michel Foucault , [3] noting Eco's friendship with the French philosopher, [4] but the author "specifically rejects any intentional reference to Michel Foucault" [5] —this is regarded as one of his subtle literary jokes.

Why am I embroidering on my little mistake for so long, you may ask? Well, because it so eloquently describes exactly the kind of thing Eco is talking about in this book. Psychologically speaking, humans simply don't like things that don't make sense. We tend to group things together based on various associations, through likeness, symbolism, or a variety of other associations. We also need to see the 'sense' of things, we need to know the 'why' of things, which is why, perhaps, it was necessary for so many religions to put the emphasis on belief as opposed to knowledge, on faith as opposed to proof, and why Jesus exhorts his followers to become as the little children [who believe blindly and innocently].

The relevant religion then becomes the 'reason' for everything unexplained in life: Also, if something does not make sense to us, we'll fill in the missing bits out of what seems most reasonable to us, rather than to leave things unexplained. For instance, seeing strange flying things in the night, would years ago most probably have been explained as having seen ghosts, whereas many modern people would prefer to believe that they saw UFO's.

But in addition, humans are intensely social creatures, and we can conceptualise social phenomena as constructs which can regulate our behaviour in emotional ways; for instance, we have a need to belong, we have a capacity to feel guilt, and we believe in cause and result. Many humans also have a desire for spiritual meaning - a need to believe that life has a "higher purpose". These and other characteristics cause us to often seek solace and 'meaning' with cults and religions. Eco dissects the results of these tendencies, he shows us how myths are created, often through humans' need for closure-so if there is something missing in our 'picture' of something, we tend to make up the missing bits to best fit in with our currently held needs and beliefs.

Eco eloquently demonstrates this when the central group of characters in the novel, three editors at a publishing firm, work out an elaborate esoteric explanation for some of the missing text on a partly destroyed piece of paper that they have been told holds a great secret concerning the Knight's Templar; only to be shown up by the narrator's wife, who deftly demonstrates that the partly obliterated text actually represents a shopkeeper's goods delivery list, and nothing close to the two or three different interpretations that had been made by people who had assumed that it holds a tantalizing secret.

Fun of a similar manner ensues in various places in the novel, for instance when one of the editors aptly applies the shape and the meaning of the Mystical Kabbalah to the body and inner workings of a motor vehicle. Eco shows us how easily connections are formed in the human mind, and how easily such a chain of associations can lead through the most unlikely chain of associations, right back to the origin again, if necessary.

Drawn in by the "game" of applying mystical symbolism to "everything", our three editors devise a story which they call "The Plan".

The Plan works very much like a regular game of "Word Association": Basically there were three rules. Rule One: Concepts are connected by analogy. For example, potato crosses with apple, because both are vegetable and round in shape. From apple to snake, by Biblical association. From snake to doughnut, by formal likeness. From doughnut to life preserver, and from life preserver to bathing suit, then bathing to sea, sea to ship, ship to shit, shit to toilet paper, toilet to cologne, cologne to alcohol, alcohol to drugs, drugs to syringe, syringe to hole, hole to ground, ground to potato.

Rule Two says that if tout se tient [the connections prove valid] in the end, the connecting works. From potato to potato, tout se tient [therefore it holds true]. So it's right. Rule Three: The connections must not be original. One of the themes of the novel is that our three protagonists become the victims of their own hubris. As one of the three editors, Diotallevi, points out, that after their 'game' had drawn them in, it started consuming them with its addictive power and it started spilling over into reality in alarming ways, like a Frankenstein's monster run wild: But your story in the outside world is still unfolding.

When we meddle with how history is presented, we create consequences. Certainly, history is written by the victors and is therefore almost always a subjective account of events, so we must be very very careful when presenting versions of events. Versions of events are often skewed for personal gain, but, as Diotallevi points out, when we do it as a game, just for fun, that is particularly unforgivable, because whatever version of events that we'd put out there, it still has consequences.

Interestingly, each person in the novel experiences the consequences of their deception in a different way. All of them experience guilt in various ways, The best part of the novel for me, was the poignant character sketch of Jacopo Belbo, the introvert who struggles to engage, who can never put himself in the midst of things, who is always on the periphery, except for one two glorious moments in his life, when Eco brilliantly makes him become the center of the universe.

Ironically, to some extent yes. In the novel, Eco himself is prone to showing off and legerdemain, almost as much as his characters who become a part of the conspiracies they have scorned. Five stars for the astonishing range and depth of Eco's erudition, for his mischievous and clever sense of humor and his amazing accomplishment of drawing so many threads together in a remarkable tapestry of history, epistemology, semiotics and characterization; but minus a half star for the many superfluous bits of knowledge that are repeatedly offered, in what seems to be more showing-off sessions than being really functional with regard to the novel's plot or theses.

View all 49 comments. Let's be clear: Eco is a titan. This opus embarks the reader in a story with multiple bends, one is carried away by the incredible erudition of the author, by the obvious mastery of his art Rare are the books that really raise the level of the reader. Eco does it every time. A Landmark! The Pendulum of Foucault is a book that exceeds me. It is full of references, abstruse authors, outdated ideologies, strange rites.

Every time I will remember it, I will get out of it. It is a reminder of the Let's be clear: It is a reminder of the Dan Browns of this world, the publications of the Bogdanov brothers and the sociology thesis of Elisabeth Tessier.

This is both the ultimate conspiracy and an ode to these little boys who were we and who amused themselves by putting secrets on our boredom to give us importance. View all 21 comments.

Foucault's Pendulum

Il pendolo di Foucault is a novel by Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco. It was first published in , and an English translation by William Weaver appeared a year later. The satirical novel is full of esoteric references to Kabbalah, alchemy and conspiracy theory—so many, that critic and novelist Anthony Burgess suggested that it needed an index.

Some believe it refers to the philosopher Michel Foucault, noting Eco's friendship with the French philosopher, but the author "specifically rejects any intentional reference to Michel Foucault" —this is regarded as one of his subtle literary jokes.

View all 4 comments. This is a novel that contrasts the acceptance, and delight, in the world as it is with the consequences of the desire to read in meanings to everything that we see about us.

In Eco's earlier book, The Name of the Rose , the detective mystery was parodied and this is taken one step further in this novel. The Detective mystery assumes that there is a mystery that can be solved. It invites investigation.

In this novel the constant working deeper into mysteries produces only more obscurity "the penis This is a novel that contrasts the acceptance, and delight, in the world as it is with the consequences of the desire to read in meanings to everything that we see about us. In this novel the constant working deeper into mysteries produces only more obscurity "the penis is just a phallic symbol" view spoiler [ or as has been said in Britain Brexit means Brexit hide spoiler ] which is undercut, or rather has the cork removed, by the surface of events.

The childhood memories of one character, the love and impending fatherhood of another. The desire to find out why Professor Plum is dead in the library with a lead pipe next to him is shown to be a self-destructive one that can only end in a never ending kaleidoscope of ambiguity.

Eco's next step, naturally enough, in Baudolino is to show extraordinarily commonplace and political origins for some of the myths and legends that so obsess the legion of diabolicals in this novel.

At the centre of the story are an unlikely trio; Belbo, Causabon and Diotallevi. They work for a curious publisher, Garamond.

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

The curiosity lies partly in the everyday with the one armed warehouseman who deals with all the deliveries and dispatches and partly in the esoteric transmutation of ordinary mortals into authors.

The publishing house has two parts. One a respectable business the other a theatrical lure to entice and catch self-financing authors. It is a vanity press and a very profitable business the production of authors turns out to be. Spotting a gap in the market they become involved in producing a series of books on magic, mysticism and hermetic 'learning' to feed the credulity of the reading public.

The publishing house here is not a beacon of enlightenment but rather a smoky fire that seeks to deepen a smog of obscurantism over readers. As we read we are drawn through a world of varied, contradictory but passionately held beliefs. As the publishing house offers the untalented the opportunity to become authors.

So too the cults and sects the trio deal with offer meaning and a grand significance to people's lives. In short both sides of the operation, the publishing and the cults, are a con. The kind of con in which you get exactly what you wanted, but it simply costs more than you expected. This allows Eco to give a good kicking in passing to Holy Blood Holy Grail but also shows how bizarre beliefs in the hollow earth, the Druidical training of the Aryan Jesus and the fantasies of the Alchemists in a divinely meaningful universe spill over to affect our cultural and political lives.

Perhaps is a novelist's response to Religion and the Decline of Magic. The heroes attempt to out do the irrational beliefs of a world of faith, clinging only to the involvement of the Templars with everything, is sure to end badly when their inventiveness is taken terribly, terribly seriously.

Remember, The Templars have something to do with everything. At the same time this is also a book about the stories that we create and recreate about ourselves while growing up and how one can become trapped within them and as it turns out, few things are as fatal as being trapped within a story of one's own construction.

An earlier version of this review was eaten by the Templar internet. View all 40 comments. Nov 20, Jaidee rated it liked it Recommends it for: Recommended to Jaidee by: As I read this book I reflected on four other books that have been considered great by so many of my friends and in particular, my darling partner. These five books to me were seeds and shadows of greatness but I felt were so heavily flawed that they became only fair to average good reads for me.

These books are: Cloud Atlas 3 stars 3. A Fine Balance 3 stars 4. The 3 "the last of the pentalogy of puzzlement and perseverance" stars A very difficult book to both rate and review. The Goldfinch 3 stars 5. Foucault's Pendulum 3 stars They were all extremely long books that perplexed me and I had to push push push to get through. I have no regrets reading any of them but I doubt I will return to any of them as they frustrated me to no end and I was not left with a feeling of awe or wonder or sense that I had read anything close to a masterpiece but rather more like half finished paintings or half formed statues , tepid tea, cold pizza.

These books often had me question myself on my level of intelligence, my sense of esthetics or if I was truly a worthwhile reader as these books were raved about by many people I admire and a few I even love. In the end, however, I am entitled to feel ambivalent about what I read, like what I like and see these books as struggles that helped me grow as a reader and further define my tastes in literature.

This book in particular, challenged me throughout as at most I understood a third of the context. I admired the fine line between truth and delusion and references to history, religion, science and magic. I could have spent much longer on this novel and could have done much research to deepen my understanding but would throughout the book consciously choose not to.

I will leave you with a quote from the book that sums up the main gist of the book to my very limited understanding of what this novel is about: There is only an empty secret.

A secret that keeps slipping through your fingers. The secret of the orchid is that it signifies and affects the testicles. But the testicles signify a sign of the zodiac, which in turn signifies an angelic hierarchy, which then signifies a musical scale, and the scale signifies a relationship amont the humors. And so on View all 44 comments. Adults with large vocabularies. The best book I have ever read. It is the creepiest, deepest, and most brilliantly executed piece of literature.

Umberto Eco is a genius, and if I could have a conversation with anyone, it would be him. The book, however, is very difficult to read.

The language is dense, and in the first pages, it beats you over the head with history of the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians. All of this history is necessary to make the second half cause you to shit your pants. It's basically about these gu The best book I have ever read. It's basically about these guys trying to write a fictional book about the plan for the universe by tieing together all of the secret societies and cults.

While they weave together all of this to create fiction, it all begins to work as fact. Then, really creepy shit starts going down. Just be patient, it will pay off. View 1 comment. Aug 31, Ben Babcock rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read a lot, and the people around me are used to seeing a new book in my hand every day or couple of days.

Naturally, they ask me what I'm reading, usually in a way that implies I should divulge more than just the title and the author, which are plainly visible on the cover. How do I respond when I'm reading something so sublime and transcendental as Foucault's Pendulum? It defies ordinary description of plot, because Umberto Eco has again unified his narrative with his themes and characters t I read a lot, and the people around me are used to seeing a new book in my hand every day or couple of days.

It defies ordinary description of plot, because Umberto Eco has again unified his narrative with his themes and characters to create a complex masterpiece. Even the hook on the back of my paperback edition doesn't do it justice. At its core, Foucault's Pendulum is a fable about conspiracies. It is a cautionary tale that demonstrates what happens when people begin to believe in conspiracy theories; lending credence lends life, which can have unfortunate consequences for everyone involved.

The main characters begin as sceptics, working for a publishing house that's allied with a vanity press, who begin constructing a fictitious Plan by connecting seemingly-disparate historical facts. When organizations and individuals begin showing up seeming to be acting in accordance with this Plan, however, our protagonists realize that if you make up a Plan, even a false one, someone might try to execute it.

This book is not about conspiracy theories though. It has been compared to The Da Vinci Code , and of course there are similarities; both books deal with Templar mythology, for instance. Foucault's Pendulum is so much more though. It isn't a mystery about a conspiracy theory; it's a mystery that looks into the effects of conspiracy theories on otherwise rational, scholarly people.

The narrative parallels the characters' journey in its own structure, beginning with a strong foundation in logical principles and eventually transforming into a very spiritual, emotional text.

We have so many books based on the premise that such and such conspiracy theory is actually valid. Here, the theories are all fictitious; it begins as a harmless game among three people determined to mock conspiracy theories and the obsession with finding hidden meaning through occultism.

The theory only becomes real because people begin believing in it; they begin seeing meaning where before there was nothing, no relationship.

Characters emerge, ones we're familiar with from prior in the book, who appear to have a part in this Plan and think it has been in operation for centuries.

These characters are in some ways created by their fellow characters our protagonists ; Foucault's Pendulum is very meta-authorial in that respect, much like Sophie's World. Eco gives us an unreliable narrator so that we're forced to think critically about the story we're given and wonder how much is true and how much may be the feverish imaginings of an unbalanced, misguided mind.

The narrator is named Casaubon, and I'm very glad I read Middlemarch before reading this book. Casaubon is sort of like his namesake from Middlemarch , who devotes his life to the syncretic task of unifying human myths. In Foucault's Pendulum , Casaubon and his friends Belbo and Diotallevi sift through the slush of conspiracy lunatics "Diabolicals" to compile a master theory, a Plan, spun around the framework of the dissolution of the Knights Templar.

As they come to believe in the reality of their own Plan, the world around them changes, becomes darker and more sinister. All conflicts in this book, even the external ones, are ultimately internal, created from our characters' own imaginations.

In between, we get glimpses of Belbo's childhood in rural Italy, and Eco mentions both historical and contemporary Italian politics. As an outsider, I found this part of the book fascinating, since I'm totally unfamiliar with Italian history or even how its citizens were affected by the rise of fascism and their time under Mussolini. That's what I like so much about Eco: Instead, he forces me to meet him on his intellectual level.

One thing that makes Foucault's Pendulum so transcendental is the fact that it's rife with allusions to medieval and Enlightenment history and philosophy, arcane rituals and religions, and other esoteric and occult phenomena.

Il pendolo di Foucault (I grandi tascabili) por Umberto Eco

You'd practically need a degree in these areas like Eco has to understand it all without a reference book; I don't, and I admit I got lost at times. Almost every page is filled with this historical references, particularly when Casaubon, Belbo, and Diotallevi are thick in their discussions of the Plan.

Consider that for a moment: I got lost in the historical detail of the book, yet I'm still giving it five stars. That's how good it is; even its flaws are strengths.

Still, the tendency of this text toward tones academic will turn some people off the book. It may not be for everyone. If you find yourself reading my review and thinking, "Hmm, this sounds like it is right for me," however, don't wait.

Go out and get this book now. Read it, and then read it again--I will, some day, because Foucault's Pendulum is one of those books where you need to read it through several times to grasp its complexity.

And every reading will be its own reward, as reading should be. View 2 comments. View all 6 comments. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. The Revelation of the Identical: Eco's books, both literary and academic. If there's one question I would like to ask him is this: Ontology dissolved by epistemology in the modern era and which is in turn also dissolved by the signs humans come up post-modern era.

William of Ockham, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein rule supreme -- matter closed. No question of being. Is that it, Professor? View all 3 comments. Nov 25, Dolors rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Patient seekers of Truth. All three of us are in this. Before the tribunal of Truth. What is truth? Truth is relative. Casaubon is presented as the epitome of logic and sense, the skeptic type as a counterpoint to ascetic Diotallevi, who is in turn convinced by his passion for Kabbalah that he comes from Jewish ancestry without any real evidence.

Belbo arises as the anti-heroic protagonist whose biggest frustration relays in his inability to become a writer after an alienated childhood that shaped him with insecurities and a low self-esteem. On Lia: I am the honored and the hated. I am the saint and the prostitute.

What is the message behind this deliberate scholarly obfuscation? Is there a hidden lesson to be learnt amidst this subtle intellectual and emotional manipulation?

Is Reason or Faith the conduit to find the meaning of existence, the truth of the making of History? But beware my fellow reader. And that is something I am not ready to accept as the fallible and imperfect human being I am. You are wise. But the greatest wisdom, at that moment, is knowing that your wisdom is too late. You understand everything when there is no longer anything to understand.

View all 27 comments.

Apr 09, Gerard rated it did not like it. One of those books where the author tediously says next to nothing, and all the semi-litterati can't figure out what he's trying to say, so they conclude he must be brilliant. A wasted effort by an otherwise talented so I hear author, and that portion of the gullible public that assumes that something profound is being said so long as they can't understand it.

View all 9 comments. View all 8 comments. Very patient Eco fans is there any other kind? This book is a conundrum to me. I liked the story of three book editors accidentally enmeshing themselves in the world of conspiracy theory. I liked the philosophical discussion of why we believe in things like Great Global Conspiracies. I even thought some of the history was interesting. In parts of this book, the signal-to-noise ratio is distressingly low as Eco's talking heads sit and discuss the intricacies of Templar and Rosicrucian history for page after p This book is a conundrum to me.

In parts of this book, the signal-to-noise ratio is distressingly low as Eco's talking heads sit and discuss the intricacies of Templar and Rosicrucian history for page after page after page.

My patience wore thinner and thinner as Eco name-checked his way across all of European history and added absolutely nothing to the story. You could easily shave a full hundred pages out of this book and have a much better and less infuriating book. Sabbah vb. Bununla birlikte Belbo is extremely careful to not try to create literaturebecause he deems himself unworthy, although it becomes somewhat obvious that writing is his passion. The ending is also quite unsatisfying, though the main point of the book that there is no secret is clearly presented and ruminated on.

Leaving Italy the other day, I found myself at the airport pwndolo at the last moment to reduce the weight of my luggage. It reminded me of the hopeless sense of duty that strangles any enjoyment out of reading id often plagued me during my education. When ip man comes to tell them he has discovered a secret code, they figure he is mad like many of the others and send 2. He frames Belbo as a terrorist suspect in order to force him to come to Paris.

Our Day return guarantee still applies. This article is about the novel by Italian philosopher Umberto Eco. If you have a particularly comprehensive body of knowledge regarding religion, the history of judaism, christianity and islam and you have also got a sound background on the Knights Templar then this may be a better read for you.

Open Preview See a Problem? This book consists of predominantly two things: Their first attempt ends up recreating after a liberal interpretation of the results the Mary Magdalene conspiracy theory central to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Casaubon jokingly suggests that to create something truly new Belbo must look for occult connections in non-obvious contexts, such as by linking the Kabbalah to a car's spark plugs.

Belbo actually does this, and after some research concludes that the powertrain is a metaphor for the Tree of life. Pleased with the results of the random text program, the three continue resorting to Abulafia whenever they reach a dead-end with their game.

The original Knights Templar organization is destroyed after the execution of Jacques de Molay , but the members split into independent cells located in several corners of Europe and the Middle East. As in Ardenti's original theory, each cell is given part of the Templar "Plan" and information about the secret discovery. They are to meet periodically at different locations to share sections of the Plan, gradually reconstructing the original.

Then they will reunite and take over the world using the power of the telluric currents to reshape the world as they see fit.

The crucial instruments involved in their plan are a special map and the Foucault pendulum , which is used to show the location of the focal point of the world's currents. While the Plan is far-fetched, the editors become increasingly involved in their game. They even begin to think that there might really be a secret conspiracy after all. Ardenti's disappearance, and his original "coded manuscript", seem to have no other explanation.

However, when Casaubon's girlfriend Lia asks to see the coded manuscript, she comes up with a mundane interpretation. She suggests that the document using the context of the language at the time and the significance of roses in the city where the document was found is simply a delivery list of bunches of roses.

She encourages Casaubon to abandon the game as she fears it is having a negative effect on him, and that their Plan is "a bad joke" that too many people will believe in. When Diotallevi is diagnosed with cancer, he attributes this to his participation in The Plan. He feels that the disease is a divine punishment for involving himself in mysteries he should have left alone and creating a game that mocked something larger than them all.

Belbo meanwhile retreats even farther into the Plan to avoid confronting problems in his personal life.

Their list includes historic organizations such as the Templars , Rosicrucians , Paulicians and Synarchists , but they also invent a fictional secret society called the Tres Templi Resurgentes Equites Synarchici , Latin for "the Risen again Synarchic Knights of the Temple". Upon reading the list, he claims not to have heard of the Tres before. The word was first mentioned to Casaubon by the policeman De Angelis. De Angelis had asked Casaubon if he has ever heard of the Tres.

He also claims to be in possession of the secret Templar map. He frames Belbo as a terrorist suspect in order to force him to come to Paris. Garamond, Colonel Ardenti and many of the Diabolical authors. Belbo tries to get help from De Angelis, but he has just transferred to Sardinia after an attempted car bombing, and refuses to get involved. Casaubon receives a call for help; he goes to Belbo's apartment, and reads all the documents that Belbo stored in his computer, then decides to follow Belbo to Paris himself.

Casaubon hides in the museum, where he was when the novel opened. At the appointed hour, a group of people gather around the pendulum for an arcane ritual. Belbo is then brought out to be questioned. Angry that Belbo knows more about The Plan than they do, they try to force him to reveal the secrets he knows, even going so far as to try to coerce him using Lorenza.

Refusing to satisfy them or reveal that the Plan was a nonsensical concoction, his refusal incites a riot during which Lorenza is stabbed and Belbo is hanged by wire connected to Foucault's Pendulum.

The act of his hanging actually changes the arc of the pendulum, causing it to oscillate from his neck instead of the fixed point above him. Casaubon escapes the museum through the Paris sewers, eventually fleeing to the countryside villa where Belbo had grown up. It is unclear by this point how reliable a narrator Casaubon has been, and to what extent he has been inventing, or deceived by, conspiracy theories.

Casaubon soon learns that Diotallevi succumbed to his cancer at midnight on St. John's Eve, coincidentally the same time Belbo died.

The novel ends with Casaubon meditating on the events of the book, apparently resigned to the possibly delusional idea that the Tres will capture him soon. And when they do, he will follow Belbo's lead, refusing to give them any clues, refusing to create a lie. While waiting, holed up in a farmhouse where Belbo lived years before, he finds an old manuscript by Belbo, a sort of diary.

He discovers that Belbo had a mystical experience at the age of twelve, in which he perceived ultimate meaning beyond signs and semiotics. He realizes that much of Belbo's behavior and possibly his creation of the Plan and even his death was inspired by Belbo's desire to recapture that lost meaning.

Most books written in this fiction genre seem to focus on the mysterious, and aim to provide their own version of the conspiracy theory. Eco avoids this pitfall without holding back on the historical mystery surrounding the Knights Templar.

In fact, the novel may be viewed as a critique, spoof, or deconstruction of the grand overarching conspiracies often found in postmodern literature.

Although the main plot does detail a conspiratorial "Plan", the book focuses on the development of the characters, and their slow transition from skeptical editors, mocking the Manutius manuscripts to credulous Diabolicals themselves.

In this way the conspiracy theory provided is a plot device, rather than an earnest proposition. Belbo's writings are a recurrent theme throughout the book. The entire book is narrated in first person by Casaubon, with brief interludes from the files on Abulafia. These passages are often eccentrically written, and deal in most part with Belbo's childhood, his constant sense of failure, and his obsession with Lorenza.

The interludes from his childhood serve as stark contrast to the mythical world of cults and conspiracies. Belbo is extremely careful to not try to create literature , because he deems himself unworthy, although it becomes somewhat obvious that writing is his passion.

This attitude of constant subconscious self-abasement fits in with the overall irony focused on in the book, considering that Belbo is eventually consumed by re creation of the Plan; one excerpt meant for the unattainable Lorenza reads, "I could not possess you, but I can blow up history. Casaubon is a scholar. While Belbo seeks inner peace, Casaubon's quest is of knowledge.

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