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From: Peter Grimes <grimes@waste.org>
Subject: Re: (urth) Eco's tic
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 08:54:14 

On Tue, 25 Aug 1998 m.driussi@genie.com wrote:

> This amounts to a visceral "thumbing of the nose" or sucker punch
> from Eco to reader.  Very po-mo.
> Or in a different harsh light, one might say it points to a failure
> of artistic vision--at the very least, it suggests that Eco is a one
> trick pony: the guy can't write an ending; he loses steam and takes
> it out on the reader in his frustration.
> LOT 49 (to name just three works that cover similar territory) are
> successful and satisfying where FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM is not; yet these
> three works give plenty of answers to the mysteries they pose.

Ugh, I just can't let this go by unremarked.  Illuminatus is garbage
writing.  There is not a single female character in the book who is not
there solely for the purpose of having sex with one of the male
characters.  This is a 1000+ page novel.  Pretty pathetic.

Plus, it has the opposite 'problem' of Foucault's Pendulum.  Every 40-50
pages you are basically told that everything you had been told before that
point was wrong and you are then given another 'explanation'.  While this
is effective the first couple of times it starts to lose its effectiveness
after the 700th time.

AND the prose is just plain poor.  Wolfe is probably my favorite prose
writer (along with a few others) and Eco is definitely in the same league.
They are both interestingly in a stylistic sense.  Robert Anton Wilson and
his co-conspirator are just not terribly good writers.

I agree, Crying of Lot 49 is a great book, although I preferred Foucault's
Pendulum.  Pynchon can be a bit self-indulgent in his writing and I get
tired of his showing the reader how clever he is every few paragraphs
(This got really annoying about 400 pages into Gravity's Rainbow, at which
point I just gave up).

So what if Foucault kills the conspiracy at the end?  That's more or
less the point of the book.  Its about how an obsession with conspiracy
leads someone to see them everywhere and in fact contributes to their


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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