[Kindle] Kepler by John Banville by John Banville

This isn t a novel about Johannes Kepler so much as an extended reflection on what it might have been like to have been a largely unacknowledged genius living through a time of war and religious been a largely unacknowledged genius living through a time war and religious persecution limited cash and a wife who can t stand the sight of you Not much fun if Banville s portrayal is anywhere near the truth and it feels very much like it could be His Kepler is neurotic paranoid vain self pitying frustrated and passive aggressive to an almost camp degree He is also believable and sad with a sort of inner integrity mixed with defiance that ultimately has you rooting for him In all of these respects he is a typical John Banville character This is not Banville s most entertaining book large parts of it are heavy going but it is yet another example of something Banville does better than any other contemporary English language novelist that I now of which is to take something seemingly huge murder treachery bereavement genius and render it grubby and relatable Two down now as I attempt to get through The Revolutions Trilogy by Banville Next up will be the Copernicus book I have been waiting for on hold I have not read a book by Banville that I did not like This book was difficult for me for a couple of reasons the hardback from Vintage International was published in a very small font That added to my frown lines as I had to look up various geographical locations and scientific terms to fully digest the material It is not a book for leisure reading but if one takes the extra time to understand the societal pressures as well as the development of scientific thought during his lifetime the reward is greaterFortunately Banville has that gift of conveying events in the very best and most efficient phrasing to allow understandingAstronomy at first had been a pastime merely an extension of the mathematical games he had liked to play as a student at Tubingen As time went on and his hopes for his new life in Graz turned sour this exalted playing and obsessed him It was a thing apart a realm of order to set against the ramshackle real world in which he was imprisoned For Graz was a ind of prison Here he taught at the age of 23 and hated the vocation After succeeding in drawing up an astrological calendar that accurately predicted weather he felt free to work on the mysteries of the solar system Kepler s journey of discovery is beautifully told by BanvilleHis life challenges however were portrayed vividly It was not an easy road but makes for interesting historical fiction A very good readLibrary Loan This was my first contact with John Banville whose name I new from the literary pages of the Irish Times He was editor there for many years I remember enjoying the book but being young and very unsophisticated I m sure I didn t understand a third of what he was doing in it and I Wasn T Even Aware That It Was t even aware that it was of a trilogy Innocent days Science As PyschotherapyUnlike his introduction of Nicolaus Copernicus in his first volume of his Revolutions trilogy John Banville gives a very clear ey to his interpretation of Johannes Kepler s life in the second disorder had been the condition of his life from the beginning Not only does he set off a much distinctive character for Kepler than for Copernicus but Banville also pursues the interaction of that character with the intellectual and social context of the time in a much interesting wayKepler s neurotic condition a longing for assurance about the ultimate rationality of the world is described by Banville in all its stages the initial trauma created by a chaotic midden of an early family life subseuently confirmed through a young Lutheran adulthood in an increasingly oppressive Catholic country and routinised in the shambolic Benatky castle circus of Tycho Brahe It Is hardly surprising that the need for an underlying order in the universe would be a response upon which Banville could build a narrative Science or generally thought itself as psychotherapy And this psychotherapeutic narrative never overdone but muted and hinted at continuously does provide a convincing coherence to Kepler s life His passion for astronomy is a sort of self medication in Banville s story Kepler s work is a reflection and projection of his deepest fears of meaninglessness and purposelessness His but this will interrupt my work attitude to politics religion and family relations is a persistent part of his character until late in life Even the death of his second child is primarily an inconvenience rather than a tragedy A complete indifference to the suffering of his wife is a clear symp. Johannes Kepler born in 1571 in south Germany was one of the world's greatest mathematicians an. Kepler by John Banville

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Historical accuracy of the story since I new nothing of Keppler s personal life and only the most basic highlights I new nothing of Keppler s personal life and only the most basic highlights his professional achievements But I enjoyed this uniue subject He was after the eternal laws that govern the harmony of the world Through awful thickets in darkest night he stalked his fabulous prey Only the stealthiest of hunters had been vouchsafed a shot at it and he grossly armed with the blunderbuss of his defective mathematics what chance had he crowded round by capering clowns hallooing and howling and banging their bells whose names were Paternity and Responsibility and Domestgoddamnedicity Yet O he had seen it once briefly that mythic bird a speck no than a speck soaring at an immense height It was not to be forgotten that glimpse In renaissance Europe divided on nationalistic and religious lines a revolution is taking place something that s going to totally upend humanity s worldview Earth from its position at the centre of the universe is going to become a practical nonentity circling the Sun a star in a solar system among countless solar systems in a galaxy among many such galaxies Then men on the vanguard of the revolution the early astronomers don t now they are going to do it however They are just men of science lusting after the elusive thing called truth glimpsed once in a while tantalizingly through all the random noise
that surrounds the 
surrounds the in this journey we call lifeThe German astronomer Johannes Kepler is hunted in his native Catholic Germany for his Lutheran faith To add to his travails he has a wife who does not understand him a capricious father in law tragic memories of the deaths of his infant children to haunt him and a weak constitution He escapes to Prague to work in collaboration with Tycho Brahe the scientist who has made the most accurate astronomical observations But he has to contend with Brahe s high handed behaviour as well as the idiosyncrasies of the ruler of Bohemia the eccentric Emperor Rudolph his official patron also his own private insecurities and irrational beliefs to compound private insecurities and irrational beliefs To compound problem Brahe favoureds the Ptolemian model of the universe and Kepler the CopernicanThis book by Booker winning author John Banville is not a biography of Kepler the standard lives of the scientists ids study as part of their school curricula It is a recreation of a turbulent period of history when humankind emerging from centuries of ignorance was taking huge strides in the field of science The author tries to show the men of intellect in pursuit of eternal truths in all their humanity and in the process also the journey of science as it really was one with a lot of stoppages false starts and retrogressions compounded by religious intolerance and the petty jealousies among the scientists themselvesKepler s original contributions were in the field of calculating the orbital pathways of the planets and establishing the laws of planetary motion Being a believer he tried to bring harmony into his concept of the universe as he believes God wouldn t have it otherwise John Banville has succeeded in picturising the orderly mind of mathematician who sees beauty and logic as the manifestations of the divine science of numbersThis is a short book but very rich in content From BBC radio 4 ExtraAn exploration of the clash between two of the 17th century s leading astronomers the assured prickly and self mocking Johannes Kepler and the aristocratic overbearing and secretly insecure Danish Nobleman Tycho BraheBenedict Cumberbatch stars in John Banville s dramatisation set during the last year of Brahe s lifeJohannes Kepler Benedict CumberbatchTycho Brahe Alun ArmstrongBarbara Arabella WeirSophie Gillian KearneyLongberg Scott HandyRudolph II Geoffrey BeeversJeppe Kenny BakerChristine What I can say It was my first Banville book and it won t be my last We experience Kepler s Angst Grand Orbit in Three RevolutionsThis is the second in a series of novels called the Revolutions Trilogy I ve read the first two and suspect that these two if not all three are based on a template which Banville has developed Most of my review of Doctor Copernicus could apply word for word to Kepler in fact I m sorely tempted to cut and paste the whole of my previous review including the comments about Banville s affection for alliteration and sibilance of which some examples are assembled below the pilfering postmaster whose lugubrious ghost still loitered in his lost domainhe was touched by her sad ungainly statethe breadth and balance of the buildingsa comic bugle blastthis rage to work this rapture of Work of historical fiction that is rooted in poverty sualor and the tyrannical power of emperor. ,

Tom of neurosis not diligence It only gets to be called genius in history not because of what it produced but because of where it leads Neurotic doesn t imply destructive However when the therapy carried on as a slavish routine becomes a solution an end in itself it doesn t lead anywhere but to the hell it is trying to avoidIs this purely a personal story therefore Well not really It is likely that we all get trapped by neurosis of some sort given that every child develops at best a partial and at worst a distorted take on reality which is then imported into adult life If the result is success by prevailing standards this largely unconscious condition is called a life passion or driving force If the results are by conventional norms unsuccessful these same conditions are obsessions or addictions Doesn t a career as a scientist and not only a scientist begin with a presumption of an underlying order awaiting discovery And what would provoke anyone to presume such order and then to embark on a hopeful life of such discovery if not an absence of order of one sort or another in one s formative years And there always is an absence of one sort or another In Kepler s case the therapy was intellectual in others it might be political in my case it was in the first instance the therapy was intellectual in others it might be political in my case it was in the first instance and then military Only late in life did I recognise my own drive to exist in by creating it an orderly world as a consistent theme of my life I too like Kepler ultimately chose an intellectual therapy corporate finance a discipline just about as solidly based in reason as astrology Not because I was particularly gifted in either business deal making or mathematics but because also like Kepler I had found a way to survive economically while pursuing the itch for order in an apparently chaotic world And I too mistook the therapy for a destination Your garden variety ends means confusion Banville has Kepler recognise his error in a letter of 1611 to his step daughter I don t now if the letter is authentic The recognition is traumatic Recovery is excruciatingly slow I m still recoveringSo thank you John Banville for providing a bit of life affirmation for me And thank you as well for the typically Banvillian additions to my vocabulary like caparisoned utrauist widow s weeds pavonian and scolopendrine I love it when the spellchecker gets snookered Now old pal how about an historical biography of Freud and how psychoanalysis went off the rails John Banville is one of my favorite writers a leaning reinforced by his historical novel Kepler about the 17th century mathematician astronomer Johannes Kepler Math and astronomy are not among my usual haunts but Banville writes so well and so precisely he can infuse anything with interest Part of the strength of his writing is his talent for choosing the right word It doesn t have to be a big 10 word it might just be two somewhat usual words put together unexpectedly Looking now afresh at the form of this little book I am struck by the thought that perhaps without realising it I had some intimation of the troubles to come for certainly it is a strange work uncommonly severe and muted wintry in tone His writing sometimes reminds me of the poetry of Lucie Brock Broido who embroiders amazing sentences and syntaxes as in the poem Death as a German Expert from which I include here an excerpt just for interest Always the dead will be lined as sadAnd crookedly as fingerling potatoes in root cellars dank enoughFor overwintering In Luckenwalde a young girl slides a needleIn the turnip purple soft fold of her inner arm and this tooTransfigures a ind of joyKepler the novel is above all a book about intellectual striving Kepler believed man was made in God s image and thus should be able to understand the universe God created and he tries so hard it puts all of us to shame It is amazing that anyone could figure out the laws of planetary motion just by observing the sky through a telescope especially someone like Kepler who SPENDS ADULTHOOD HOUNDED BY RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION AND BESIDES THAT adulthood hounded by religious persecution and besides that to be feeling ill most of the time Poor guy I liked him but not too much There are other interesting if somewhat flat characters like Kepler s potion mixing mother his dimwit brother a dwarf a Jewish lens maker astronomers emperors and of course the female interests Barbara Regina and Susanna As the title implies this is historical fiction about the famous mathematician and astronomer Johannes Keppler Banville brings his signature precision of language and gift for creating character and atmosphere to this novel I can not evaluate the. D astronomers The author of this book uses this history as a background to his novel writing ,
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