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 occupation jam-packed 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 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 way of first novelist Kurzweil is in itself a curious melange: a portrait of a tender mechanical genius, a gallimaufry of wierd and exciting evidence, and a wealthy, lusty photo 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 clinical inquiry, watchmaking and portray erotic scenes in miniature. yet his genius is denied expression while he abruptly 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 via Kurzweil in leisurely prose lively by means of irony, humor and aphoristic asides. Nuggets of arcane wisdom are well interpolated into the tale, and there are whimsical proof, too; we study, for instance, that kurzweil skill "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, unlike the hypocritical, pretentious contributors of the higher classification, who're unaware that the Revolution lurks round the nook. even though Claude's so much impressive invention, the "Talking Turk," falls sufferer to that cataclysm, he leaves to posterity a "case of curiosities": a development known as a momentum hominum , "the chronicle of a lifestyles. " during this diverting novel, his inventor does an analogous. BOMC and QPB decisions; 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 lifestyles field, the souvenir hominem of Claude web page, an awfully talented 18th-century French clockmaker with a fondness for the mechanical and a very good zest for all times. As a tender guy, he's taken in via a God-hating abbe who employs him to color naughty scenes, with relocating elements, 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 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's humorous, human, and interesting without notice. hugely instructed 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
More than any of Denis’ previous features, this film is a hybrid, a work whose densely intertextual quality signals a space of multiple becomings. For Deleuze and Guattari, ‘becoming’ is a state of in-between-ness, a process of metamorphosis, visible or invisible, that aﬀects all forms of existence (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 272). ) In Denis’ work, it manifests itself in the make-up of the characters and diegetic space, as well as in the mutating film form in itself: Something profoundly amphibious characterises Denis’ cinema.
It ignores or abstracts away from the primordial forms of raw sensation: aﬀect, excitation, stimulation and repression, pleasure and pain, shock and habit. It posits instead a disincarnate eye and ear whose data are immediately objectified in the form of self-conscious awareness or positive knowledge. (Shaviro 2004: 26–7) Furthermore, where cinema – that is, the audio-visual art form of movement – is concerned, to explore sound and images in their materiality is not merely to call for a consideration of the necessarily subjective nature of sensory eﬀects (sound and vision as well as, through correspondences, the other senses), but also, as the film unravels, to draw attention to the constant mutations that aﬀect the physical appearance of audio-visual matter.
10 As mentioned in the introduction, the past twenty years have witnessed a burgeoning of alternative theoretical proposals bent on exploring anew the corporeal and sensuous dimensions of the medium – a 10 The reappraisal of early works also testifies to this shift in analytical approaches. In the latest anniversary events devoted to Étienne-Jules Marey, the inventor of chronophotography, it was the aesthetic value of his work that was hailed, and its sensual resonance, as much as its scientific worth (Colloquium at the Musée d’Orsay, 19–20 November 2004).
A Case of Curiosities by Allen Kurzweil