In these chapters of Foucault’s Pendulum, Casaubon struggles to cope with what has become of his life. Intrigued? Read on.


Belbo and Lorenzo are dead. The order of Tres has dispersed, their one and only opportunity to continue the Plan foiled. Not that this brings any comfort to Casaubon, as the poor man has just seen evidence that his worst nightmares, the conspiracy theory he made up with his dead friends, has become reality. So this chapter features him displaying an overwhelming confirmation bias, seeing more evidence of the conspiracy everywhere he goes. He shuns human contact and every slightest trace of the occult that he sees, wandering around in a state of delirium until he feels the need to get himself consulted. The only hope he has left is to get confirmation that he’s unwell and imagining the whole thing. It’s the only comfort he has left.


This chapter confused me at first, because I originally thought that La Tour, or The Tower, was not the Eiffel Tower but instead the Tower of Saint Jaques, which in the previous chapter Casaubon said might have been the prototype for the Eiffel Tower to be a channeling device or whatever the conspirators wanted to use it for. But that was another circumstance, so this is indeed the Eiffel Tower, and seeing it up close gives Casaubon a panic attack. He takes the experience of seeing the latticework of the tower up close, something I’d treasure and snap countless pictures of (if only to practice drawing with), and has an experience akin to the moment in an H.P. Lovecraft story where the protagonist starts seeing in dimensions and time-space that the human brain was never meant to process, overwhelming the senses and warping their understanding of reality. Unfortunately, this convinces Casaubon that he’s perfectly sane and that the world is exactly as screwed up as he imagines, instead of the other way around. Instead of going to Dr. Warner to get diagnosed, he’s leaving to spread the word to… someone. His only plan is to take pills and get some sleep.


After Casaubon wakes up, he starts coming back in contact with the real world. He starts hearing news of police and riots, checks the Conservatory to see that yes, there is no evidence that any kind of ritual happened, and goes to see Dr. Wagner, telling him the entire story of what’s happened with him, the Plan, and his friends. Now, there’s been quite a bit of untranslated French in the dialogue, which makes sense since Casaubon is an Italian in Paris, but I know enough about the language to know what “fou” means. So Casaubon got what he wanted out of the doctor… before he decided he was sane thanks to the Eiffel Tower… so, yay, I guess?

Oh, and when he finally gets in contact with someone from back home, it’s the secretary who couldn’t organize files for crap and helped inspire the Plan, informing him that he and Belbo have missed Diotallevi’s funeral. Ouch.