By Allen Kurzweil
In France, at the eve of the Revolution, a tender guy named Claude web page units out to turn into the main inventive and bold inventor of his time. during a profession 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 conversing 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 previous, A Case of Curiosities areas Allen Kurzweil securely within the ranks of the best literary artists of our time.
The innovative tale spun the following through first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of strange and exciting proof, and a wealthy, lusty photograph of overdue 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges nation lad Claude Page's ability for drawing. less than 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 bring about the blossoming of Claude's abilities are comparable through Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively by way of 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 such a lot winning, notwithstanding, 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 participants of the higher classification, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. although Claude's such a lot fantastic invention, the "Talking Turk," falls sufferer to that cataclysm, he leaves to posterity a "case of curiosities": a building known as a momentum hominum , "the chronicle of a existence. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does a similar. BOMC and QPB choices; significant ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed enterprise details, 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, an awfully proficient 18th-century French clockmaker with a keenness for the mechanical and a superb zest for all times. As a tender guy, he's taken in by means of 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 superb conversing automaton, with which he hopes to earn his fortune. yet fortune has a unique 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 abruptly. hugely instructed for normal collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback decisions; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of know-how, Utica
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Additional info for A Case of Curiosities
La couleur apportait l’espérance, au contraire de celle de leurs contemporains, les expressionnistes allemands. « Le but que nous nous proposons c’est le bonheur, un bonheur que nous devons créer par conséquent » 22, disait Derain. Mais afin de créer, il fallait soi-même aimer la vie, être doué du « sentiment de joie flamand » 23, qu’Apollinaire trouvait dans la peinture de Vlaminck. « J’aime avant tout la vie » 24, avouait timidement Jean Puy, tandis que Van Dongen lui faisait écho beaucoup plus insolemment : « Ah !
En ce qui concerne les termes laissés en héritage par le XIXe siècle, la notion de « classicisme », telle que les fauves la comprenaient ne différenciait en rien de celle des peintres romantiques du siècle passé. « Je voulais faire naître une révolution dans Henri Matisse, Nature morte à la nappe bleue, 1909. Huile sur toile, 88,5 x 116 cm. Musée de l’Ermitage, Saint-Pétersbourg. 51 Henri Matisse, Nature morte rouge de Venise, 1908. Huile sur toile, 89 x 104 cm. Musée Pouchkine, Moscou. 52 Henri Matisse, Nature morte espagnole, vers 1910-1911.
Henri Matisse, La Porte de la Casbah, 1912-1913. Huile sur toile, 116 x 80 cm. Musée Pouchkine, Moscou. (p. 60) Henri Matisse, Le Café arabe, 1913. Détrempe sur toile, 176 x 210 cm. Musée de l’Ermitage, Saint-Pétersbourg. (p. 61) 58 59 60 61 62 formation de groupes autour d’eux, provoquaient une résistance naturelle. Il y a, dans chaque génération, des jeunes peintres qui aspirent à l’expression intuitive, spontanée et sincère de leur individualité. De ce fait, nombreux étaient ceux qui voulaient s’allier au Fauvisme et tâchaient même de le souligner en s’appelant par des noms inspirés du mot, tels Die Neue Wilden (Les Nouveaux Fauves) en Allemagne ou autres groupes de Paris, Moscou ou Saint-Pétersbourg.
A Case of Curiosities by Allen Kurzweil