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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Measuring the World

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Measuring the World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The young Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann conjures a brilliant and gently comic novel from the lives of two geniuses of the Enlightenment.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, the Prussian aristocrat Alexander von Humboldt, negotiates savanna and jungle, travels down the Orinoco, tastes poisons, climbs the highest mountain known to man, counts head lice, and explores every hole in the ground. The other, the barely socialized mathematician and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss, does not even need to leave his home in Gottingen to prove that space is curved. He can run prime numbers in his head. He cannot imagine a life without women, yet he jumps out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a mathematical formula. Von Humboldt is known to history as the Second Columbus. Gauss is recognized as the greatest mathematical brain since Newton. Terrifyingly famous and more than eccentric in their old age, the two meet in Berlin in 1828. Gauss has hardly climbed out of his carriage before both men are embroiled in the political turmoil sweeping through Germany after Napoleon's fall.

Already a huge best seller in Germany, Measuring the World marks the debut of a glorious new talent on the international scene.

Review:

"Loosely based on the lives of 19th-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt and a contemporary, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, Kehlmann's novel, a German bestseller widely heralded as an exemplar of 'new' German fiction, injects musty history with shots of whimsy and irony. Humboldt voyages to South America to map the Orinoco River, climb the Chimborazo peak in Ecuador and measure 'every river, every mountain and every lake in his path.' Gauss is the hedgehog to Humboldt's fox, leaping out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a formula and rarely leaving his hometown of Gttingen. The two meet at a scientific congress in 1828, when Germany is in turmoil after the fall of Napoleon. Other luminaries appear throughout the novel, including a senile Immanuel Kant, Louis Daguerre and Thomas Jefferson. The narrative is notable for its brisk pacing, lively prose and wry humor (curmudgeonly Gauss laments, for instance, how 'every idiot would be able to...invent the most complete nonsense' about him 200 years hence), which keenly complements Kehlmann's intelligent, if not especially deep, treatment of science, mathematics and reason at the end of the Enlightenment." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Measuring the World' has sat on the German best-seller list for more than a year and sold more than 750,000 copies. In the American book market, that would require a teenage wizard or at least a conspiracy of crooked Jesuits. But 31-year-old Daniel Kehlmann is entertaining his countrymen with a story about Enlightenment-era scientists and references to isothermal lines and modular arithmetic. This... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[H]eady historical novel, which may especially delight science-fiction connoisseurs." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] wonderfully entertaining depiction of an era, but, more importantly, a warm, playful portrait of two delightfully improbable men. Brilliant." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"If Humboldt and Gauss are occasionally cartoonish, they are the creations of a very smart, deft artist." The New York Times

Review:

"Measuring the World has proved to be nothing less than a literary sensation." The Guardian

Review:

"Possibly this fall's The Name of the Rose." The Philadelphia Inquirer

Synopsis:

Already a bestseller in Germany, this brilliant and gently comic novel chronicles the lives to two young geniuses who during the Enlightenment of the 18th century set out to measure the world.

About the Author

Daniel Kehlmann was born in 1975 in Munich, the son of a director and an actress. He attended a Jesuit college in Vienna, traveled widely, and has won several awards for previous novels and short stories, most recently the 2005 Candide Award. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages, and Measuring the World became an instant best seller in several European countries. Kehlmann is spending the fall of 2006 as writer-in-residence at New York University's Deutsches Haus. He lives in Vienna.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375424465
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Kehlmann, Daniel
Publisher:
Pantheon
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Humboldt, Alexander von
Subject:
Gauss, Carl Friedrich
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20061107
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.50x5.82x1.03 in. .91 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Measuring the World Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375424465 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Loosely based on the lives of 19th-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt and a contemporary, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, Kehlmann's novel, a German bestseller widely heralded as an exemplar of 'new' German fiction, injects musty history with shots of whimsy and irony. Humboldt voyages to South America to map the Orinoco River, climb the Chimborazo peak in Ecuador and measure 'every river, every mountain and every lake in his path.' Gauss is the hedgehog to Humboldt's fox, leaping out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a formula and rarely leaving his hometown of Gttingen. The two meet at a scientific congress in 1828, when Germany is in turmoil after the fall of Napoleon. Other luminaries appear throughout the novel, including a senile Immanuel Kant, Louis Daguerre and Thomas Jefferson. The narrative is notable for its brisk pacing, lively prose and wry humor (curmudgeonly Gauss laments, for instance, how 'every idiot would be able to...invent the most complete nonsense' about him 200 years hence), which keenly complements Kehlmann's intelligent, if not especially deep, treatment of science, mathematics and reason at the end of the Enlightenment." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[H]eady historical novel, which may especially delight science-fiction connoisseurs."
"Review" by , "[A] wonderfully entertaining depiction of an era, but, more importantly, a warm, playful portrait of two delightfully improbable men. Brilliant."
"Review" by , "If Humboldt and Gauss are occasionally cartoonish, they are the creations of a very smart, deft artist."
"Review" by , "Measuring the World has proved to be nothing less than a literary sensation."
"Review" by , "Possibly this fall's The Name of the Rose."
"Synopsis" by , Already a bestseller in Germany, this brilliant and gently comic novel chronicles the lives to two young geniuses who during the Enlightenment of the 18th century set out to measure the world.
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