Download A Case of Curiosities by Allen Kurzweil PDF

By Allen Kurzweil

In France, at the eve of the Revolution, a tender guy named Claude web page units out to develop into the main inventive and bold inventor of his time. during a profession choked with violence and keenness, Claude learns the humanities of enameling and watchmaking from an irascible, defrocked abbé, apprentices himself to a pornographic bookseller, and applies his erotic erudition to the seduction of the spouse of an impotent wigmaker. however it is Claude's maximum device-a conversing mechanical head-that either crowns his profession and ends up in an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and much extra bizarre.

Hailed by means of critics for the shimmering brilliance of its innovations and its uncanny constancy to the textures of the earlier, A Case of Curiosities areas Allen Kurzweil securely within the ranks of the best literary artists of our time.

The ingenious tale spun right here via first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of wierd and exciting proof, and a wealthy, lusty photograph of past due 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges kingdom lad Claude Page's ability for drawing. less than his mentor's tutelege, Claude discovers capacities for clinical inquiry, watchmaking and portray erotic scenes in miniature. yet his genius is denied expression whilst he all of a sudden runs away to Paris and apprentices to a loathsome bookseller and broker in pornography. The occasions that result in the blossoming of Claude's abilities are similar by way of Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively via irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are smartly interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical proof, too; we research, for instance, that kurzweil capacity "pastime" in German. the writer is so much winning, in spite of the fact that, in making a gallery of memorable, Dickensian characters. The bawdy population of Paris's fetid slums are depicted with affection, not like the hypocritical, pretentious individuals of the higher type, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. notwithstanding Claude's so much marvelous invention, the "Talking Turk," falls sufferer to that cataclysm, he leaves to posterity a "case of curiosities": a building referred to as a momentum hominum , "the chronicle of a lifestyles. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does a similar. BOMC and QPB decisions; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed enterprise details, Inc.
From Library Journal
The narrator buys a field of randomly assembled gadgets at a Paris public sale. it's a lifestyles field, the souvenir hominem of Claude web page, an awfully talented 18th-century French clockmaker with a fondness for the mechanical and a good zest for all times. As a tender guy, he's taken in through a God-hating abbe who employs him to color naughty scenes, with relocating components, at the faces of watches and clocks. "The tree of data is there for us to climb," counsels his mentor. "Climb it. forget about the fences. Swing from department to department . . . . You, Claude, are a discoverer." In Paris, later, Claude struggles to build a wonderful speaking automaton, with which he hopes to earn his fortune. yet fortune has a distinct plan for Claude. The eccentrics and bohemians who contact Claude's existence are all and sundry grotesques of compelling curiosity and comedian strength. Kurzweil tells a true tale; it really is humorous, human, and fascinating abruptly. hugely prompt for common collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback decisions; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of expertise, Utica

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That left room enough for human enterprise to do the rest. Deist manifestos, often written as poems and often anonymously, circulated around Paris. The most famous of these was the Quatrains du déiste, which rejected all anthropomorphic images of God as superstition. How can the Eternal God be like mere human animals? To be Eternal, God must be something else, something Other, something abstract, like Plato’s Ideas: Since the Eternal Being eternally Knows only great beatitude, perfect and all sufficient,… Is not the one sunk in superstition insane To imagine Him both unchanging and changeable Inflamed with vengeance and offended by a thing of little consequence An enemy of tyrants, yet more redoubtable than they?

Oddly enough, the bourgeoisie were caught between the martial games of the upper classes, partly expressed through high-stakes gambling, and the endemic gambling practiced by the poor. Whereas the aristocracy could disdain money because their social position did not depend upon it, the poor had no money, or too little of it, and so did not fear falling from their social position, because they had already fallen. It was the unique and exquisite plight of the middle classes, especially those who had been recently ennobled or were on their way to becoming noble, that no matter how high they climbed, their lives were still dependent upon money, and they still suffered the lightly veiled contempt of the aristocracy, whose social position was so much more stable than their own.

Ignatius of Loyola that every human being had the possibility, the duty even, to make a choice for God or against God—to march under the standard of God or under the standard of the devil. Therefore, the Jesuits opposed Augustine’s limitations on human freedom. And their liberality, I would argue, was the wellspring from which the modern idea of liberty flowed. For Saint-Cyran, these milquetoast spiritualities were just too soft on sin. A Christian should be made of sterner stuff. His official portrait shows a man dressed in cassock and surplice, nearly bald and with a full beard, his lips pressed tightly, his eyes sliding away, as if with an irreparable sadness.

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