infobox Book |
name = Baudolino
title_orig =
translator = William Weaver

image_caption = Recent US paperback edition cover
author = Umberto Eco
cover_artist =
country = Italy
language = Italian
series =
genre = Historical novel, Speculative fiction
publisher = Secker & Warburg (UK) & Harcourt (USA)
release_date = 2000 (orig.) & 15 October 2002 (Eng. trans.)
media_type = Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
pages = 528 pp (US hardback edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-15-100690-3 (US hardback edition)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Baudolino" is a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco about the adventures of a young man named Baudolino in the known and mythical Christian world of the 12th century.

"Baudolino" was translated into English in 2001 by William Weaver. The novel presented a number of particular difficulties in translation, not the least of which is that there are ten or so pages written in a made-up language that is a mixture of Latin, medieval Italian, and other languages.

Plot summary

In the year of 1204, Baudolino of Alessandria enters Constantinople, unaware of the Fourth Crusade that has thrown the city into chaos. In the confusion he meets Niketas Choniates and saves his life. Niketas is amazed with his language genius, speaking many language he has ever heard, and on the question: if he is not part of the crusade, who is he? Baudolino begins to recount his life story to Niketas.

His story begins in 1155, when Baudolino is sold to and adopted by the emperor Frederick I. At court and on the battlefield, he is educated in reading and writing Latin and learns about the power struggles and battles of northern Italy at the time. He is sent to Paris to become a scholar.

In Paris, he gains friends (such as the Archpoet, Robert de Boron, and Kyot, the purported source of Wolfram von Eschenbach's "Parzival"), and learns about the legendary kingdom of Prester John. From this event onward, Baudolino dreams of reaching this fabled land. On a long journey, encompassing 25 years, Eco demonstrates the full width of his story-telling style. Baudolino meets eunuchs, unicorns, Blemmyes, skiapods, and pygmies. At one point, a female satyr-like creature recounts to him the full Gnostic creation myth; Gnosticism is a pervasive presence in another of Eco's novels, "Foucault's Pendulum". Philosophical debates are mixed with comedy, epic adventure and creatures drawn from the strangest medieval bestiaries.

Characters in "Baudolino"

; Invented by Eco
* Baudolino – young man of Alessandria, protagonist, apparently a reference to the patron saint.
* The monopod 'Gavagai', a reference to Quine's example of indeterminacy of translation.
* Satyr
* Blemmyes
* Panotti
* The putative successors of Hypatia of Alexandria

; Other fictional or legendary persons
* Kyot
* Gagliaudo, legendary saviour of Alessandria
* Prester John
* Deacon John, leprous sub-ruler of Pndapetzim

; Historical
* Frederick Barbarossa
* Niketas Choniates
* Robert de Boron
* The Old Man of the Mountain
* Pope Alexander III
* Beatrice, Countess of Burgundy
* The Archpoet (unknown except through his poetry)
* Otto of Freising
* A member of the ancient Armenian Ardzruni noble clan
* Andronicus I Comnenus
* Stephen Hagiochristophorites

Release details

*2000, Italy, Bompiani (ISBN 88-452-4736-8), Pub date ? ? 2000, hardback (First edition, Italian)
*2001, Brazil, Editora Record (ISBN 85-01-06026-7), Pub date ? ? 2001, paperback (Portuguese edition)
*2002, UK, Secker & Warburg (ISBN 0-436-27603-8), Pub date 15 October 2002, hardback
*2002, USA, Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-100690-3), Pub date 15 October 2002, hardcover
*2002, France, Grasset and Fasquelle (ISBN 2-246-61501-1), Pub date 12 February 2002, paperback (French edition)
*2002, USA, Recorded Books (ISBN 1-4025-2814-0), Pub date ? October 2002, audiobook (cassette edition)
*2003, Italy, Fabbri - RCS Libri (ISBN 88-452-5195-0), Pub date ? January 2003, paperback (Italian edition)
*2003, USA, Harvest Books (ISBN 0-15-602906-5), Pub date 6 October 2003, paperback

External links

* [ An interview with Umberto Eco for "La Repubblica", September 11, 2000] en icon
* [ An excerpt from the book] en icon

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