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Umberto Eco IL CIMITERO DI PRAGA - The cemetery in Prague

Written by eastern writer on Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The cemetery in Prague is the sixth novel by Umberto Eco , published in Italy by Bompiani on 29 October 2010 .

The protagonist of the novel is Captain Simonini, a very cynical forger who lives in the nineteenth century . The novel is set in Paris , Turin and Palermo.


The forger and spy Simone Simonini, in the apartment above his shop of junk (which uses as a cover) in Paris in 1897 , now old, he began to write in a diary the events of his life. He hopes in this way to bring back to memory some memories that seem to have lost because of an ' amnesia . A second character , the ' Abbot Dalla Piccola, he seems to know, but who lives in an apartment and communicating with her, inexplicably, he knows a lot about life Simonini, is interfering with his notes in the leaves of the news of this' last. Annotations that alternate with the same protagonist, who believes (like the reader who is misled by the identity crisis of Simonini) the conviction that the two individuals match the same identity, only to change his mind when in the narration of his biography sees inconsistencies that led him to ponder otherwise. The third voice is that of the Narrator .

In reviewing the facts of his life, remembers being Simone Simonini Piedmont of birth, was soon lost his mother, grew up in Turin with his grandfather, Giovanni Battista Simonini, because his father, member of the Carbonari , is often far committed to the organization of riots (he died in 1849 during the defense of the Roman Republic ). Unlike his son, John the Baptist is instead deeply reactionary and bigoted, and submit to his nephew visceral hatred of the Jews (named after the protagonist has been chosen by his grandfather in memory of San Simonino , the child who, according to legend , was killed as a sacrificial victim by the Jews of Trent in the XV century ). Simone then grows in a dark, oppressive and tail, supervised by tutors Jesuits called by his grandfather, including his father Bergamaschi environment that feeds him insensitivity, misanthropic , morbid whims and idiosyncrasies, an obsessive misogyny and, by contrast with the rigid upbringing, the contempt for religion : a passion but to read the feuilleton of Alexandre Dumas , of which especially appreciate the novel Joseph Balsamo , focusing on the figure of Cagliostro , and Eugène Sue .

On the death of his grandfather in 1855 , Simon discovers that his inheritance is burdened by many debts and is forced, aided by the studies of law concluded that, to go to work at the notary Rebaudengo (Simonino which gives responsibility for misappropriation heritage of his grandfather). He teaches him to falsify documents, art and soon became skilled Simonini, thus attracting the attention of the Secret Service Savoy . Become a spy, is sent Simonini in Sicily in the wake of thousand of Giuseppe Garibaldi , and here he met the writer Ippolito Nievo , treasurer and lieutenant of the army of volunteers, of which one gains the confidence to be able to take possession as on the order of services ladyfingers (who instructed him to confine itself exclusively to the destruction of cards), accounting records kept by them. In order to get rid of this documentation that could prove the funds bestowed by the Savoy under the table, Simonini causes the sinking of the ship on which it travels Nievo and the death of the same.

Back in Turin, services, send it to Paris , where he began working for the Simonini counterintelligence ' French empire . Meanwhile, inspired by the novels of Dumas and Sue, began to manufacture a fake document, first addressed to the discredit of the Jesuits, then turned to the Jews, which is staged in an alleged secret meeting the night of the rabbis of the various leaders of Jewish communities' Europe in the old Jewish cemetery in Prague , where they expose their plans for world domination and the destruction of Christianity . Additional material, useful in the manufacture of the text is provided to the forger from reading a book against Napoleon III , Dialogues Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu , written by journalist Maurice Joly , who knows in prison, where he had been sent by the French Government to acquire information on it and found to be unsafe, and then kill, simulating the suicide . On behalf of French intelligence, infiltrating in the sphere of ' anarchism , he shut down a group of conspirators, led by the ' Italian Gharial, who were preparing an attack against the Emperor.

Wants to sell his material to the highest bidder on the Jews who, meanwhile, continues to enrich a particular derived from different sources and properly adjusted, Simonini comes into contact with services Prussians , knowing a writer named Hermann Goedsche , which, however, appropriates the substance of his work that will include in his novel, Biarritz . With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War , however, the Second Empire of Napoleon III Simonini collapses and finds himself involved in the terrible days of the Paris Commune . Quickly past the pay of the French Third Republic , in later years worked to consolidate its numerous contacts (including his own tutor time, Bergamaschi father, also a student interested in obtaining material from the ancient enemies of the Church , Freemasons and Jews), while in the meantime the activities of mere forger for Individuals helps increase its revenues, by ensuring a fair chance, although his way of life continues to be very low and lonely, he does not cultivate any relationship staff and granting a single deep passion for good food.

But the thought fixed Simonini is the intention of procuring his best work, the false document on the Jewish conspiracy originally titled The cemetery of Prague , and now renamed the protocols : they are exploited in every possible stereotypical anti-Jewish , to help raise the fear and hatred of all social strata, from the clergy , they are targeting the passages in which the Jews are presented as evil enemies of Christianity, promoters of free thought and Freemasonry , the small middle class , for which Jews are depicted inspiring movements as socialists and communists , and ultimately to the proletariat , which are instead held up as moneylenders , masters of finance and banking world and starving the people.

In his diary, Simonini also recalls his encounter with an abbot named Dalla Piccola, who had commissioned on behalf of the Jesuits, one written against the Jews. These had then accused of having provided no original material based on the novel Biarritz (in fact turns out to be the novel Goedsche to be copied by Protocols of Simonini), whose author Goedsche will be laid to rest after the Jesuits to prevent to be unmasked, Simonini kills From Small to hide the body in the sewer of their own pied-à-terre .

It is not, however, evidently, of From Little continues periodically to fit into his story, because he takes the floor again to tell his story in the same year, therefore, from small misunderstandings into contact with characters such as the priest Satanist Joseph-Antoine Boullan and especially the writer Léo Taxil , author of writings violently anti-Catholic, with whom he arranges an elaborate scam. Taxila, once affiliated with the Masons, simulating his astonishing conversion to Catholicism , and began to produce a series of polemical writings by the huge commercial success in which he denounced the mysterious and esoteric practices that would be practiced in various lodges. To make it even more credible than the descriptions of disturbing rituals, from the small takes into custody by Dr. Du Maurier, director of a psychiatric clinic in Vincennes , a young patient with a mysterious past named Diana, subject to hysterics , during which suffers a curious case of split personality, goes from being a pious and devout and extremely modest to adopt attitudes lewd and provocative, giving himself the description of fantastic black masses and satanic cults which would be involved. The girl locked up in an apartment owned by him, from the small, along with Taxila, she draws from the stories with which to feed the flow of anti-Masonic publications, which have a wide circulation in Catholic circles, so as to earn even a meeting with Taxil Pope Leo XIII himself. At one point, then, is the same as Diana, which was given the surname Vaughan, to be presented as the author of the books from small, Taxila and Boullan he invented the story, imagining that she was the cult un'adepta Palladian pentitasi and returned to the Catholic faith. After some time, however, the first doubts began to arise about the authenticity of the story of Diana. Taxila, after Dr. Charles Hacks (author of Le Diable au XIX siècle , published under the pseudonym of Bataille ), maker set at Taxila, small and Boullan of publications aimed at tarnishing the Masons, has revealed the falsehood of the conversion of Diana Vaughan stated that he wanted to exploit the gullibility of Catholics, eager to talk even more about yourself, and prepare a sensational withdrawal leaves the group.

Aiming to collect information on Freemasonry, Simonini is credited in the appropriate circles Republicans, in his opinion, a good excuse to get in touch with the Freemasons. At the same time, through the mediation of Juliana Glinka, which had tried to sbolognare anti-Jewish fantasies, comes into contact with the head of the Russian secret service investigations abroad Pyotr Rachkovskij . So he began to work with the ' Okhrana , the secret police of Russia czarist also interested in finding evidence of Semitic conspiracy for his purposes. Meanwhile, Simonini was involved in the famous Dreyfus case , "helping, by making a false document that mimics the handwriting of the officer jew- Alsatian Alfred Dreyfus (attributing responsibility for espionage against the French in function), to prosecute him for do border on treason and ' Devil's Island .

On the evening of 21 March 1897 (the day before the mysterious amnesia of Simonini, and his first entry in the diary), from a small part, together with Diana, a black mass , then resolved in Sabbath , officiated by Boullan [2] , during which the woman in the throes of erotic frenzy, abuses of the abbot. The next morning, from the small discovers with horror that Diana is Jewish and, beside himself with the thought he had a sexual relationship with a woman and being able to become father of a baby jew, kill Diana and Boullan, hiding the bodies in the ear sewer underneath the home. These events were the cause of the trauma that caused the partial loss of memory Simonini, who has erased from his mind everything that had happened when personified by the Small: Simonini it turns out that in fact, the small (under whose character remains Simonini had begun when he was forced to hide from Lagrange to get in touch with Boullan) are the same person. Due to the shock following a very traumatic event the two have split personalities and the one he had no consciousness of the other. Thanks to the method of recalling memories through writing (suggested by the protagonist a chance encounter with a young and still unknown Sigmund Freud ), Simonini reconstructs the stories of two characters by rearranging the events of his life.

After a break of writing the diary, which lasts for about a year, Simonini takes to write reports and to be still struggling with the Russian secret services that continue pressing for the Protocols , also coming to blackmail him by threatening to release uncovered his crimes. Simonini, who fears that his name can be traced to the false document that incriminated Dreyfus, but received assurances of Rachkovskij who declares that France is in the interest of the bordereau dummy is believed true, finally completed its work and delivers it to an agent named Matvei Golovinskij . Can not know that his text is designed to have a sinister influence over the twentieth century .

The last entry in the diary of December 1898 : The novel ends with the preparation of an attack in the construction of underground Paris , where Simonini is committed to placing a bomb manufactured by Gharial, an operation in which, presumably, lose his life, because his diary stops abruptly.

The novel has attracted much criticism for the fact that, according to some, it would transmit the idea that Catholics have a critical attitude towards the ideas of progress and the tools of human reason, and will appear in a closed self-referential horizon, obsessed and sex-Semitism. [5]

Many reserves has also led to the extreme anti-Semitism that pervades the entire plot of the story. L ' Osservatore Romano , in concidenza with the publication of the novel, he delivered a harsh critique of an article signed by Eco's historical Lucetta Scaraffia , which has complained that " by dint of reading disgusting things about Jews, the reader is left how dirty this raving anti-Semite, and it is even possible that anyone would think that maybe there is some truth when everything, absolutely everything, the characters seem to some of these atrocities . " [6] The writer replied, arguing that his book is not presents racist or derogatory intent against the Jewish people. [translated from wikipedia]

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