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 creative and bold inventor of his time. during a occupation full of 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 speaking mechanical head-that either crowns his occupation and ends up in an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and much extra bizarre.
Hailed by way of critics for the shimmering brilliance of its innovations and its uncanny constancy to the textures of the prior, A Case of Curiosities locations Allen Kurzweil securely within the ranks of the best literary artists of our time.
The innovative 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 photo of past due 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges state lad Claude Page's ability for drawing. below his mentor's tutelege, Claude discovers capacities for clinical inquiry, watchmaking and portray erotic scenes in miniature. yet his genius is denied expression while he all of a sudden runs away to Paris and apprentices to a loathsome bookseller and broker in pornography. The occasions that bring about the blossoming of Claude's skills are similar by means of Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively by means of irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are smartly interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical evidence, too; we research, for instance, that kurzweil capability "pastime" in German. the writer is so much winning, besides the fact that, in making a gallery of memorable, Dickensian characters. The bawdy population of Paris's fetid slums are depicted with affection, unlike the hypocritical, pretentious individuals of the higher category, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. notwithstanding Claude's so much very good 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 existence. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does an identical. BOMC and QPB decisions; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed enterprise info, Inc.
From Library Journal
The narrator buys a field of randomly assembled items at a Paris public sale. it's a existence field, the souvenir hominem of Claude web page, a very talented 18th-century French clockmaker with a keenness for the mechanical and a very 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 information 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 superb 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 interesting without warning. hugely suggested for basic collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback choices; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of expertise, Utica
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Additional resources for A Case of Curiosities
During this entire period, slavery constituted an inescapable reality whose gigantic economic importance, cultural stakes, and political and judicial aberration could not, without bad faith or mental blindness, be ignored. How can the Enlightenment be interpreted? 3 In a partisan way? No, in an intellectually honest one. Is the Spanish Golden Century not interpreted against the background glow of the stakes of the papal inquisition? What nocturnal iridescences are commonly used to interpret German romanticism?
1973. " In Racism in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Harold Pagliaro. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University. Racevskis, Karlis. 1998. Modernity's Pretenses: Making Reality Fit Reason from "Candide" to the Gulag. New York: State University at New York Press. Sala-Molins, Louis.  2003. Le Code noir ou le calvaire de Canaan. Paris: PUF. 1992a. Les Miseres des Lumieres: Sous la raison, I'outrage. Paris: Laffont. 1992b. L'Afrique aux Ameriques: Le Code Noir espagnol. Paris: PUF. xxxvi '-*-' Translator's Introduction .
The vices of the slaves would disappear with those of the master. Soon the master finds himself among friends who are passionately and heroically attached to him. He shows that the most fertile lands are not necessarily those that are Condorcet, "Lamenting" <^—' 25 cultivated by the most miserable of slaves, and that man's true happiness need not be bought at the expense of that of his brothers. The crack of the whip and the howling of slaves give way to the sweet, tender flute music of the banks of the Niger.
A Case of Curiosities by Allen Kurzweil