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Saturday, June 10, 2006

thoughts while reading... **and an addition

Quotes from Leonardo's Notebook (a compilation of his various sketches and notes):

"That figure is most admirable which by its actions best expresses the passion that animates it."

"Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?"

"It is as great an error to speak well of a worthless man as to speak ill of a good man."

"If any one wishes to see how the soul dwells in its body, let him observe how this body uses its daily habitation."

"Science is the observation of things possible, whether present or past. Prescience is the knowledge of things which may come to pass, though but slowly."

The sketches are, of course, fascinating, but the addition of his notes on each makes his genius even more overwhelming.

I'm about half way through the 640-odd pages of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and enjoying it very much. At this point, it appears that the "Jonathan and Mina" characters are reincarnated in Paul and Helen and that Dr. Seward, Arthur, the Texan (what was his name?), and Jonathan (the four young men who unite in an effort to destroy Dracula) are Dr. Rossi, Paul, Hugh James, and Dr. Bardo. This may not be the case, but the similarities are there. I've also noticed that it is a dangerous thing to be a librarian in this version of the myth (Jen and Deborah, beware) as the poor librarians who aid our heroes often meet rather tragic ends as a result of their efforts to locate information. I find it reads nicely... although I was initially a bit annoyed by the frequent breaking off of Paul's narrative as he relayed the background piecemeal to his daughter. I would have preferred fewer interruptions, but I have not minded at all the descriptions that others have complained about; in fact, have felt they add greatly to the atmosphere.

The "twist" is becoming quite evident although clues were available earlier. Does it hang together completely? Well, given the subject matter and the length, it is doing OK so far. There are logical questions, but perhaps logic is ill-placed in a story about Dracula. I like making the comparisons to Bram Stoker's original version, but it has been ... years since I've read it. Reading Kostova's version, different though it may be, does bring back quite a bit of Stoker's Victorian interpretation.

addition: In one of the serendipitous or synchronicitous moments, I checked Wandering Woman's blog and found this terrific link to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul...which has been prominent in The Historian.

1 comment:

  1. I read this book at the beginning of the year and now after reading your entry I feel like I read a different book! I can't remember a thing! Time to read it again! :)