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Measuring the World
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New or Used: 4 copies from $19.99
Measuring the World recreates the parallel but contrasting lives of two geniuses of the German Enlightenment - the naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt and the mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss. Towards the end of the 18th century, these two brilliant young Germans set out to measure the world. Humboldt, a Prussian aristocrat schooled for greatness, negotiates savannah and jungle, climbs the highest mountain then known to man, counts head lice on the heads of the natives, and explores every hole in the ground. Gauss, a man born in poverty who will be recognised as the greatest mathematician since Newton, does not even need to leave his home in Goettingen to know that space is curved. He can run prime numbers in his head, cannot imagine a life without women and yet jumps out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a mathematical formula. Measuring the World is a novel of rare charm and readability, distinguished by its sly humour and unforgettable characterization. It brings the two eccentric geniuses to life, their longings and their weaknesses, their balancing act between loneliness and love, absurdity and greatness, failure and success.
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About the Author

Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975 and moved to Vienna in 1981, where he studied philosophy and literature at university. Measuring the World is his fifth novel.

Reviews

Measuring the World has proved nothing less than a literary sensation... the novel has sold more than 600,000 copies in Germany, knocking J K Rowling and Dan Brown off the bestseller lists... it is the most successful German novel since Patrick Suskind's Perfume... 31-year-old Daniel Kehlmann is a literary wunderkind already being compared to Nabokov and Proust - Guardian I felt so enlivened by reading this delightful novel, finishing the book with such good cheer and hope... the sense of boundless possibility, the excitement of discovery ... optimism and hope ... a wonderful novel instantly clamouring to be made my top choice - Sue Baker, Publishing NewsFilled with wry humour and fascinating anecdotes, this is a warm, witty and ultimately tragic celebration of the many faces of genius - The Good Book GuideIn sparing prose Kehlmann cleverly combines a great enthusiasm for the Enlightenment spirit of enquiry with demystifying depictions of the individuals involved...Moving...Hilarious - Book of the Week - 5 stars out of 6 - Time OutKehlmann creates a comic and engaging narrative of two brilliant but eccentric minds struggling to make sense of the world...Plays cleverly with ideas about varieties of truth and the impossibility of reconciling them - The Sunday Times, Paperback of the WeekThis novel measures the lifelines of two Enlightenment geniuses against each other with a cool scientific confidence...Kehlmann is a skilled navigator and a careful wordsmith - The ObserverMeasuring the World is a sparkling novel of ideas that manages to be both informative and readable. Daniel Kehlmann wears his own knowledge and brings these brilliant men alive with wit and brio - The Mail On SundayAn entertaining jeu d'esprit with a sharp intellectual and satirical edge - The Sunday Telegraph

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