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 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 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 inventive tale spun right here by means of 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 photo of past due 18th-century French society. A kindly, heretical abbe acknowledges state 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 hastily 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 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 examine, for instance, that kurzweil skill "pastime" in German. the writer is so much profitable, even if, 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 type, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. notwithstanding Claude's such a lot outstanding 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 company 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, a very proficient 18th-century French clockmaker with a keenness for the mechanical and an excellent 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 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 existence are all and sundry grotesques of compelling curiosity and comedian strength. Kurzweil tells a true tale; it truly is humorous, human, and fascinating all of sudden. hugely advised for basic collections. BOMC and caliber Paperback choices; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/91.
- David Keymer, SUNY Inst. of know-how, Utica
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Additional resources for A Case of Curiosities
Anjou, Bar, Lorraine and Provence 23 the constable [Richemont], put him from his presence. 38 He was to be Yolande’s ally at court against the latest royal favourite who threatened to undermine Angevin inﬂuence: Georges de la Trémoïlle, who appears not to have wished to wage the war vigorously. In the meantime a further sign that Yolande’s family was high in favour was the king’s gift of the county of Mortaine to her youngest son Charles. In 1425 the constable of Burgundy, John of Luxemburg, took the town and castle of Guise.
53 Now he had reached maturity a pattern was to emerge in his conduct of military campaigns. When he was led by skilful strategists such as Barbazan or, later, Charles VII and his captains, he fought valiantly and successfully. When he was supreme commander he was often rash, quixotic and impractical and battles ended badly for him. Disaster On 25 January 1431 René’s father-in-law Charles, duke of Lorraine, died. Antoine count of Vaudemont, the son of the duke’s younger brother had never truly accepted the marriage settlement made for René and Isabelle by which they would jointly inherit the duchy.
32 Yolande had pulled off a double coup in the face of stiff competition since Henry V of England had asked for the hand of Isabelle for his brother, the duke of Bedford. René married Isabelle in Nancy, her father’s capital, on 24 October 1420: he was eleven and his bride was ten. She was given ﬁfty thousand livres a year from the revenues of Pont-à-Mousson and other lordships in Bar. From being an insigniﬁcant French noble René had shot to prominence and importance as a prince of the empire. The inhabitants of the left bank of the river Meuse (Bar mouvante) and individual nobles gave their allegiance to the kings of France.