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 occupation choked with violence and fervour, 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 results 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 resourceful tale spun the following by way of first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of strange and interesting 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. below his mentor's tutelege, Claude discovers capacities for medical 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 skills are comparable via Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively through irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are well interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical evidence, too; we study, for instance, that kurzweil ability "pastime" in German. the writer is such a lot winning, despite 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 classification, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. although Claude's such a lot superb 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 analogous. BOMC and QPB choices; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed company 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 proficient 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 elements, 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 special plan for Claude. The eccentrics and bohemians who contact Claude's lifestyles 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 steered 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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Extra info for A Case of Curiosities
31 Castlereagh also reminded Stewart to urge the Allies to give “full scope to British commerce, in order that they might draw their subsidy at a more favorable rate of exchange. ” In general, the foreign secretary explained to his brother that “the whole question of money has become a very difficult one, since Hamburg has been reoccupied, and the Allies have fallen back. 33 In return for this financial assistance, no separate peace with Napoleon would be signed and Hanover would be restored to Great Britain.
6 Nipperdey, Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck, 68–69. ” 7 In 1821, Major August Wagner of the Prussian General Staff published three volumes titled Plane der Schlachten und Treffen welche von der preussischen Armee in den Feldzu¨gen der Jahre 1813, 14, und 15 geliefert worden. Four years later, he published the fourth volume of the series. In 1831, he published Die Tage von Dresden und Kulm in dem Feldzuge 1813 as an appendix to the earlier work; it has a slight modification of the title in this fifth volume: Plane der Schlachten und Treffen, welche der preussischen Armee und ihren Verbu¨dteten in den Feldzu¨gen der Jahre 1813, 14, und 15 geliefert worden.
As this volume will describe, Napoleon faced not one enemy army but three (Army of Silesia, Army of Bohemia, and Army of North Germany), which he opposed with three of his own. Allied forces in Central Europe numbered more than 500,000 men while Napoleon’s exceeded 400,000. Austria and Sweden joined the Sixth Coalition. Although a grand treaty of alliance would not be signed until March 1814, the Sixth Coalition was bound by subsidy agreements with Great Britain to continue the war against Napoleon.
A Case of Curiosities by Allen Kurzweil