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Quicksilver (Anglais) Broché – 7 octobre 2004


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"[A] massive tour-de-force- Dense, witty, erudite, packed with fascinating characters, and gripping despite a distended length, Quicksilver is both a worthy prequel to Cryptonomicon, and an indication that Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is shaping up to be a far more impressive literary endeavour than most so-called "serious" fiction - No scholarly, and intellectually provocative, historical novel has been this much fun since The Name of the Rose." (Charles Shaar Murray Independent)

"Staggering diversity and detail ... An astonishing achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)

"A great, heaving countryside of a book...consistently funny...fluent and elusive, while retaining just the right hint of poison" (Telegraph)

"Stephenson mixes a library's worth of ideas with compulsive derring-do . its scope and inventiveness become addictive." (Time Out)

"A breathless ride.the writing gives an immersive sense of time and place" (Face)

Présentation de l'éditeur

As extraordinary an achievement as Cryptonomicon, Quicksilver is Neal Stephenson's first novel in his acclaimed Baroque Cycle.

Neal Stephenson follows his international bestseller, the WWII thriller Cryptonomicon, with a novel set in the 16th and 17th centuries, in a world of war, scientific, religious and political turmoil.

With a cast of characters that includes Newton, Leibniz, Christopher Wren, Charles II, Cromwell and the young Benjamin Franklin, Stephenson again shows his extraordinary ability to get inside a place and time; as he did for the futures of his science fiction (Snowcrash,The Diamond Age) and for WWII (Cryptonomicon), here he does for the England of the Civil War and the Europe of the Wars of Religion and the Scientific Revolution. Quicksilver is yet another tour-de-force from a writer who is simply unique.




Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 944 pages
  • Editeur : Arrow; Édition : New Ed (7 octobre 2004)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0099410680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099410683
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 4,9 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 77.061 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par "tof_" le 23 octobre 2003
Format: Relié
D'abord, l'objet-livre est superbe avec une tranche irrégulière "à l'ancienne" (qui me rappelle les copies in-octavo de Descartes qui traînaient au fond de la bibliothèque du lycée... mais je m'égare).
Ensuite, Neal Stephenson construit un formidable récit autour de l'histoire des sciences (ou de _la_ science, comme il semble l'envisager) et nous livre par là ses vues, qui finissent toujours par donner à réfléchir.
Très bien. Je le préfère au Cryptonomicon, vivement la suite !
En parlant du Crypto : je croyais que Neal Stephenson faisait son "cycle baroque" en plusieurs volumes car il était _un peu_ plus long que le Crypto... Et ben non : Quicksilver à lui seul est aussi gros que le Crypto.
Bref, lisez le en VO, ou attendez 5 ans que le cycle baroque finisse de sortir en 9 volumes de poche en VF... Le pire c'est qu'il vous en aura coûté alors aussi cher qu'à ceux qui auront lu la VO en édition reliée :-(
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par superzombie le 29 janvier 2010
Format: Broché
Neal Stephenson, ou le Umberto Ecco des geeks. S'affranchissant allègrement de certaines vérités historiques mais maitrisant sans ambiguité son sujet, Stephenson passe des sciences pures et des experimentations hasardeuses d'époque à des tirades de numismatique, de poursuites échevelées à des rencontres improbables et d'un pays à l'autre sans jamais se départir d'un style qu'il sait adapter à chaque situation et personnage pour lui donner la profondeur qu'il souhaite. L'oeuvre est volumineuse, exigeante, et n'est certainement pas la première à lire pour "gouter" à Stephenson. En revanche ceux qui maitrisent l'anglais et aiment l'histoire et les sciences se plongeront - pour longtemps - dans cette oeuvre exceptionnelle.
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3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Peter Felecan le 16 mai 2005
Format: Broché
J'ai découvert le Cryptonomicon de Neal Stephenson dans le W.H Smith de Waterloo Station. Depuis, j'ai lu, avec ardeur, tous ses romans. Dans Quicksilver, premier tome du cycle Baroque, les ancêtres des personnages de Cryptonomicon vagabondent dans l'Europe du 17ème siècle. Érudit et plein d'humour, Neal Stephenson nous fait (re)découvrir Newton, et ses joyeux confrères de la Royal Society, Leibnitz et la société européenne, déchirée par les guerres de religion et de domination. Une fresque de Titan.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 514 commentaires
161 internautes sur 166 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Another fascinating piece of "math fiction" from Stephenson 30 novembre 2003
Par Molly Johnson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I thoroughly enjoyed the book once I accepted that it is primarily about systems and concepts, not people and events. I call it "math fiction" (as opposed to science fiction). Some of the systems he writes about are: the logic behind all those beheadings and imprisonments, the reasons for seemingly pointless invasions and alliances, Dutch vs. French business practices and why Amsterdam businessmen were so rich, the difference between different religious factions in England, motivations behind French court etiquette, why fashion exists, how to make hangings less painful, etc. He continually asks why and how rather than who what when, and in that sense he gives a math perspective to history.
Nowhere else have I read such careful (and enlightening) descriptions of capitalist systems such as money-minting, banks, stock exchanges, and the selling and transport of goods. Stephenson shares with us not just the intrigues and excesses of the nobility of 17th century Europe but also his analysis of the systems that made all that wealth (and war) possible.
More importantly, he reveals the day-to-day work of Royal Society scientists. In describing the failed experiments, fires, smells, persecutions, and other dramas of their quest for knowledge he gives a human face to the development of science. And he shows how one might think mathematically and scientifically to solve problems in the real world.
Is it great fiction? No. Stephenson needs editing, but no one is capable of quite keeping up with him enough to dare shorten what he has to say. Is he an interesting author? Absolutely! Think of the book as an extended, wide-ranging dinner conversation. You won't get a word in edgewise, but exhausted as you are at the end, you'll be up all night thinking.
504 internautes sur 539 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A long, entertaining journey... see if it's for you! 7 janvier 2004
Par Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I had a fantastic time reading Stephenson's latest book. Yes, I found it an extremely long read, but every page contained a wonderful nugget which made the journey worth the effort.
Here are two examples of Stephenson's unique ability to whip up a powerful brew of humor, science, and history:
"Penn did not take his gaze away from the window, but squinted as if trying to hold back a mighty volume of flatulence, and shifted his focal point to a thousand miles in the distance. But this was coastal Holland and there was nothing out that window save the Curvature of the World"
and...
"... I am seated near a window that looks out over a canal, and two gondoliers, who nearly collided a minute ago, are screaming murderous threats at each other... The Venetians have even given it a name: 'Canal Rage'."
Which isn't to say that the book doesn't have its share of flaws - I'll talk about the two major ones here. First, if you've read Stephenson before, you are undoubtedly aware of his tendency to use 1000 words to do where 100 would have worked just fine. So, sometimes you begin to think "where was the editor?", but most of the time he is able to pull all the threads (long as they are) together into a cohesive, compelling whole. But overall, the extreme length ends up being a plus.
The other major flaw stems from Stephenson's seemingly bottomless reservoir of creativity: this book contains not one, not two, but three lead characters. But, you say, you can't have more than one lead character, no? Exactly! All three main characters are compelling in their own way, and you want to keep watching each one grow and change. As was the case with Cryptonomicon, Stephenson could easily have written an entire book just about the character Shaftoe.
The Big Question: should you invest the time to read this book (don't worry about the dollar cost - it's inconsequential relative the number of hours you'll invest reading it)? If your answer to any of the following questions is "yes", give it a try:
1) You've read a work by Umberto Ecco and liked it
2) You enjoyed physics class in high school or college
3) You can code
4) You dig binary
5) You always wondered who Newton, Hooke, and Leibniz really were
6) You see tangents as but the arcs of greater circles
Go ahead, take the plunge into QuickSilver!
179 internautes sur 190 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This is a paperback of the first 3rd of Volume 1: Quicksilver 26 novembre 2007
Par D. Brouwer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Here's the complete list to help people avoid buying something they already have:

Quicksilver, Vol. I of the Baroque Cycle
Book 1 - Quicksilver
Book 2 - The King of the Vagabonds
Book 3 - Odalisque

The Confusion, Vol. II of the Baroque Cycle
Book 4 - Bonanza
Book 5 - The Juncto

The System of the World, Vol. III of the Baroque Cycle
Book 6 - Solomon's Gold
Book 7 - Currency
Book 8 - The System of the World
35 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Quicksilver is Golden 16 février 2004
Par John in Tokyo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Neal Stephenson's understanding and creativity are simply mind-blowing and in Quicksilver he has crafted another masterpiece. This book rocks! Like Umberto Eco's famous book (and movie) about a medieval monestary "The Name of the Rose," Quicksilver attempts to get inside of the history of ideas, as well as the history of religions, empires, culture and people, with a multi-genre story highlighting the major events and trends, as well as the tiny, every-day details of the historical period in which it is set. This is all accomplished within the framework of a compelling story/drama/adventure. (Actually, Eco's book the "Island of the Day Before" is probably a better comparison since the period in which it is set, the early 17th Century is closer to Quicksilver which is set in the late 17th and early 18th Century.)
Stephenson's literary pretentions are fairly minimal, and as a result, his work may lack some of the stylistic richness of Eco, or some of the other famous writers of historical fiction. But he makes up for this and more with the awe-inspiring historical breadth and conceptual scope, the complexity of the plot, the action, the humor and, most of all, the insight. He possesses the rare skill to create an adventure tale tying together the ideological and religious schisms of the age, the ambitions of the leading persons, the politics and court intrigues, the geneology of European royalty and their struggles for succession and power, the economics, the trade, the industry, the social relations, the architecture, the infrastructure, the travel, the transportation, the geography, the warfare, the legal systems, the culture, the theater, the literature, the agriculture, the hygene, the sanitation (the smell), the medical practices, the social mores, sexual practices and of course, since this is Neal Stephenson, the SCIENCE, ENGINEERING and TECHNOLOGY of the era.
While most prominent writers are competent stylists and many can claim historical knowledge, few can boast an ability to really understand the mathematical and scientific content and the significance of such important figures as Newton, Leibniz, Descartes, Huygens, Hooke, and many others. Among the few writers that share Stepheson's ability to grasp such eclectic but important matters as the mathematics of navigation, the mechanics of sailing ships, the chemistry of early gun-powder, the basic principles of cryptography, 17th Century optics, etc., Stephenson is unique in his ability to make these ideas accessible and interesting to laymen readers and alone in his talent to weave it all into a kick-a$# roller coaster of a story.
Quicksilver explores the people, ideas and advances that paved the way for our modern age of information and globalization; the beginnings of our financial, banking and currency systems, capital markets like the Amsterdam and London Stock Exchanges; the first national libraries, the first multinational corporations like the Dutch East India Company and Lloyd's of London; the sprouts of such ideas as freedom of religion, speech, commerce and consciousness. The continued colonization of the Americas and the exploration of the world's oceans. Amidst all of these (mostly) positive developments that we think of as "progress," Stephenson is keen to remind us of the hard reality of the wide-spread slave trade, the forced labor, the constant brutality of religious and political oppression, witch-hunts, hangings, burnings, inquisitions, pirates, banditry, the ever present scourge of disease - bubonic plague, smallpox, syphilis and a ghastly array of other medical conditions and the equally horrific primitive medicine; as well as the warfare, pillage and famine.
The cast of characters, real and fictional, is a rainbow of the most prominent scientists and philosophers of the age, the most powerful Kings, Queens, Dukes, Courtiers, as well as simple tradesmen, actresses, students, farmers, sailors, pirates, landless-peasants (vagabonds), slaves, British, Dutch, French, Germans, Swiss, Italians, Russians, Turks, Africans, Jews, Armenians, Gypsies and more. Delightful cameos from real historical persons such as Newton, Ben Franklin, Blackbeard, Louis the 14th, Jan Sobieski, William of Orange, Oliver Cromwell's decapitated head, Samuel Pepys, Spinoza, John Churchill - Duke of Marlborough, ancestor of Winston, and countless more. The story sails and gallops around the globe from colonial Boston to London to Paris to Amsterdam to Vienna to Venice to Morrocco to Algieria from palace to castle to salon to saloon to inn to village to church to market to fair to ship to canal to river to ocean to city to mountain to mine. There are battles, sword fights, conspiracies, chases (on horse, on ship) as well as long discourses on the origins of calculus and cryptography as well as the era's revolutionary advances in physics, astronomy, biology, etc. It's just plain cool.
If I have one complaint, it is that this book is too big and heavy to carry around so I have no chance to read on the train to work or during lunch or coffee breaks (the origins of the global coffee trade and the start of cafe society are duly - and humorously recorded in Quicksilver). Many other reviewers found it long-winded but even the slowest parts and longest descriptions are full of little nuggets of humor and historical insight. Judging from earlier reviews, many of Stephenson's computer geek devotees are mad that Neal wrote a book with no passages on coding or futuristic techie concepts. They don't seem to share Stephenson's fascination with this period of history. Pay no attention to their fan-boy belly-aching. They sound like Trekkies outraged about some minor plot inconsistency. To switch metaphors and fan-bases, Stephenson is no George Lucas and Quicksilver is no prequel disappointment. He is on top of his game, picking up where Cryptonomicon left off. Those who appreciated his talent and brilliance in his earlier books should love Quicksilver and look forward with baited breath to the release of the next two books in the series. I encourage first timers to ignore the loud complaints of self-proclaimed Neal Stephenson purists (or, more aptly, Puritans denouncing this cyber-punk heresy) and go give it a read.
28 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brilliant 17 août 2004
Par Existential Amazonaholic - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Please be advised that this review is being written with the added perspective of having already read the second installment of the Baroque Cycle. As a novel standing on its own I would not give Quicksilver 5 stars, for some of the same reasons that other reviewers have not given it five stars (lack of firm plot, etc.). I think many of those reviewers will be ultimately proven wrong. The Baroque Cycle, in reality, is one 2500-2700 page book. The plot and the intent of the author in undertaking the project become more and more evident as you continue reading. How many books do you have all figured out by the time you are a third through them anyway? and on top of that, why would you want to read a book that you could have all figured out in the first few chapters?

That said, Quicksilver in specific, and The Baroque Cycle in general, is brilliant writing. I'm lucky that there is a Neal Stephenson out there to write like this because otherwise I would have to do it myself... and I wouldn't be good at it. Stephenson writes the kind of books that I want to read. Quicksilver successfully mixes politics, science, romance, travel, intrigue and any number of other genres and in the mix gives us an exciting view into 16th century life, both for the upper classes and the lower. Like all of Stephenson's work, I laughed out loud at the absurdity of certain events in the story while reluctantly admitting that, yes, that could have actually happened. It bogs down in places with what you might take as a bit too much detail, but by now that is an intrinsic element of Stephenson's style and this book would be incomplete without it. I hated my history classes in school, but I love reading this sort of historical fiction. Why? It's written from a modern perspective and filled with wit and humor. I realized in reading Quicksilver that people 500 years ago were pretty much the same as people now, and that I can learn a lot from their lives and the triumphs and mistakes they made. On top of all that, in Quicksilver you get a fun retrospective on what was happening in the world of science, the great fire of London, the state of political affairs in Europe, etc., etc.

One of the things that I really enjoy about Neal Stephenson's work is that it takes some effort on my part to get the most out of his books. They are not just sit-back-and-read-it books. They are long enough and complex enough to warrant reading carefully and slowly, with frequent pauses for thought, and frequent re-reading. It's unfortunate that some people aren't willing to put forth the effort. If you are willing to put forth that amount of effort, you will be greatly rewarded!
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