The plot of this novel by a well-known Italian writer, philologist and historian of literature falls on the beginning of the seventies of the 20th century. a time when youth riots were still raging in Italy. However, the “political choice” of the narrator, a student at the Milan University of Casobone, becomes, in his own words, philology: “I came to this as a man who boldly takes the texts of speeches about truth, ready to rule them.” He has a friendship with the scientific editor of the publishing house “Garamon” Belbo and his colleague Diotallevi, who does not interfere with the age difference – they are united by an interest in the riddles of the human mind and the Middle Ages. Cazobon wrote a thesis on the Templars – before the eyes of
Next, the novel enters the field of hypotheses – Kazobon and his friends are trying to trace the posthumous fate of the Order of the Knights of the Temple. The starting point for their efforts is the appearance in the publishing house of a retired colonel, confident that he discovered the coded Plan of the Knights of the Order, the plan for a secret conspiracy, the design of a revenge designed for centuries. A day later, the colonel disappears without a trace – it is assumed that he was killed – the very incident or an unpleasant residue left by him, separates Kazobon from friends. Separation is delayed for several years: after graduating from the university and defending a diploma, he leaves for Brazil as an Italian teacher.
The immediate reason for his departure is his love for the local native Amparo, a beautiful half-breed, imbued with Marx’s ideas and the pathos of a rational explanation of the world. However, the very magical atmosphere of the country and unusual meetings, which with a hard-to-explain persistence podkidyvaet his fate, make Kazobon still almost imperceptibly for himself to do the reverse evolution: the advantages of rational interpretations seem less obvious to him. He again tries to study the history of ancient cults and hermetic teachings, incorporating into his studies and skeptical Amparo – he attracts the land of sorcerers – Bahia, to the same extent as the lecture on the Rosicrucians, read by an Italian compatriot, by all appearances – one of those charlatans, the number of which he has yet to guess. His efforts to penetrate into the mysterious nature bear fruit, but for him they are bitter: during the magical rite, which they were invited to participate in as a special arrangement, Amparo runs into a trance against his own will and, waking up, can not forgive it himself, or him. After spending another year in Brazil, Casobon returns.
In Milan, he again meets with Belbo and through him receives an invitation to cooperate in the publisher Garamon. At first we are talking about compiling a scientific encyclopedia of metals, but soon the field of his interests is expanding significantly, again capturing the sphere of the mysterious and esoteric – he admits to himself that it makes it increasingly difficult to separate the world of magic from the world of science: people who are still in school he was told that they carried the light of mathematics and physics into the jungle of superstitions, as it turns out, they made their discoveries, “relying on the one hand, on the laboratory, and on the other – on Kabbalah.” The so-called “Hermes” project, the brainchild of Mr. Garamon, the head of the publishing house, also contributes to this very well. Kazobon, Belbo, and Diotallevi are also involved in its implementation. The essence of it is, to declare a series of publications on occultism, magic, etc., attract both serious authors and fanatics, crazy, ready to pay money for the publication of their creations – these latter are supposed to be floated to the publishing house “Manuzio”, whose kinship with “Garamon” is held in the strictest secret – it is intended for the publication of books at the expense of the authors, in practice being reduced to the ruthless “extortion” of their purses. In the environment of the occultists, “Garamon” counts on a rich catch and therefore urges Belbo and his friends not to neglect anyone. is kept in the strictest secrecy – it is intended for the publication of books at the expense of the authors, in practice being reduced to merciless “extortion” of their purses. In the environment of the occultists, “Garamon” counts on a rich catch and therefore urges Belbo and his friends not to neglect anyone. is kept in the strictest secrecy – it is intended for the publication of books at the expense of the authors, in practice being reduced to merciless “extortion” of their purses. In the environment of the occultists, “Garamon” counts on a rich catch and therefore urges Belbo and his friends not to neglect anyone.