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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Galatea 2.2

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Galatea 2.2 Cover

ISBN13: 9780312423131
ISBN10: 0312423136
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After four novels and several years living abroad, the fictional protagonist of Galatea 2.2Richard Powersreturns to the United States as Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he runs afoul of Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Lentz involves Powers in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net on a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own name, sex, race, and reason for exisiting.

Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including Generosity, Gain, The Time of Our Singing, Galatea 2.2, and Plowing the Dark. The Echo Maker won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award. He lives in Illinois.
After four novels and several years of living abroad, the fictional protagonist of Galatea 2.2Richard Powersreturns to the United States as Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he runs afoul of Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Lentz involves Powers in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net on a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own name, sex, race, and reason for existing.

"Dazzling . . . a cerebral thriller that's both intellectually engaging and emotionally compelling, a lively tour de force."Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A splendid intellectual adventure, a heartbreaking love story, a brief tutorial on cognitive science, and the autobiography of one of the most gifted writers of the younger generation."The Washington Post Book World

"Terse and heartbreaking."Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Brilliantly imaginative."Time

"I love and admire this book . . . but I cannot give an adequate sense of its many marvels . . . One of the most beautiful and baffling dialogues in recent fiction."The Boston Globe

"An ingenious, ambitious, at times dizzily cerebral work . . . Much of it soars and spins."The New York Times Book Review

"Richard Powers, like Bill Gates, is his own CPU, creating his own benchmarks for fiction. For all his cybersmart wizardry, he still writes about megahurts in a language anyone can understand."The Philadelphia Inquirer

"One of the few younger American writers who can stake a claim to the cerebral legacy of Pynchon, Gaddis, and DeLillo."The Nation

"Powers's exposition of the linguistic and perceptual intricacies underlying consciousness is nothing less than brilliant."The New Yorker

"The kind of delicious novel of ideas that a computer-literate Vladimir Nabokov would have written . . . With dazzling stylistic virtuosity and a keen grasp of character, Powers has reshaped the myth of Pygmalion into a compelling parable for the digital age."San Francisco Chronicle

"This book, however cerebral, embodies a lifelike vitality of movement, uncertainty, and change. A brilliant torrent of knowledge, feelings, quotations, and invention, it genuinely requires the reader to complete its sense."Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[An] otherwise ingenious performance." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A splendid intellectual adventure, a heartbreaking love story, a brief tutorial on cognitive science, and the autobiography of one of the most gifted writers of the younger generation." Washington Post Book World

Review:

"This is a difficult, thought-provoking, and exhilarating read, electric with the power of language and, paradoxically, language's ultimate inability to alleviate suffering." Booklist

Synopsis:

After four novels and several years living abroad, the fictional protagonist of Galatea 2.2—Richard Powers—returns to the United States as Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he runs afoul of Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Lentz involves Powers in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net on a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own name, sex, race, and reason for exisiting.

About the Author

Richard Powers has been the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is the author of eight novels, including Plowing the Dark, Gain, and Galatea 2.2. He lives in Illinois.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lukas, July 24, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"But the longer I lurked, the sadder the holiday became. People who used the web turned strange. In public panels, they disguised their sexes, their ages, their names. . .The web was a neighborhood more efficiently lonely than the one it replaced. Its solitude was bigger and faster." I'm sure when this book came out in 1995, it was cutting edge and prophetic, as it is one of the first novels that I know of that deals with the emerging web, as well as computer intelligence. And while it is prescient in some passages (see the above quote), it also feels dated and is something of a time capsule of its ear, like an issue of "Wired" from 1994, a CD single, and those once ubiquitous AOL discs. A writer named Richard Powers (ooh, meta!) comes to work at a university and starts training a neural net on classic literature. It's very much in the vein of Pynchon, DeLillo, and Gibson, whose "Neuromancer" was a huge influence on both sci-fi and non-sci-fi writers. If you didn't guess it from the title, it's also a reworking of the Pygmalion myth and lit majors will surely enjoy the densely packed allusions to mythology, theory, and literature. Like I said, it's intriguing, but also a little too self-aware for its own good and its modest predictions for what the web would become now seem quaint. Also see his "Orfeo."
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312423131
Author:
Powers, Richard
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Medical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Second Edition
Publication Date:
20040131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.25 x 5.19 x 0.895 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Galatea 2.2 Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Picador USA - English 9780312423131 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "[An] otherwise ingenious performance." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "A splendid intellectual adventure, a heartbreaking love story, a brief tutorial on cognitive science, and the autobiography of one of the most gifted writers of the younger generation."
"Review" by , "This is a difficult, thought-provoking, and exhilarating read, electric with the power of language and, paradoxically, language's ultimate inability to alleviate suffering."
"Synopsis" by ,
After four novels and several years living abroad, the fictional protagonist of Galatea 2.2—Richard Powers—returns to the United States as Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he runs afoul of Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Lentz involves Powers in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net on a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own name, sex, race, and reason for exisiting.

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