The Complete Books of Charles Fort "Book of the Damned, Lo!, Wild Talents, New Lands." Greatest compilation of data: flying saucers, strange disappearances, inexplicable data not recognized by science. Painstakingly documented. Full description
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Cette livre est un compendium des choses inexpliqué et étranges qui nous entourne chaque journée si nous le fait confiance ou pas... It is a collection of knowledge since the start of the 20century... Highly recommended for anyone interested in the unexplained... Much better then John Keel books, even though I personally have lots of love for the guy
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89 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Hegelian philosophy + ostentatious prose = Charles Fort1 août 2002
Elliot F Chodkowski
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No author has had a greater intellectual influence on me than Charles Fort. As an eight year old I had no idea what he was talking about, but I was enchanted by his writing style. When I read Fort today it is for literary enjoyment. Inimitable writers are, unfortunately, too often imitated. However, an ardent Fortean could identify a Fortean paragraph as easily as he could identify his mother in a photograph. Here are some excerpts, selected at random, from this behemoth text. If you find the following samples unpalatable, you're going to hate this book: page 38 - So Science functions for and serves society at large, and would, from society at large, receive no support, unless it did so divert itself or dissipate and prostitute itself. It seems that by prostitution I mean usefulness. page 324 - That our existence, a thing within one solar system, or supposed solar system, is a stricken thing that is mewling through space, shocking able-minded, healthy systems with the sores on its sun, its ghastly mooons, its civilizations that are all broken out with sciences; a celestial leper, holding out doddering expanses into which charitable systems drop golden comets? page 389 - We assemble the data. Unhappily, we shall be unable to resist the tempation to reason and theorize. May Super-embryology have mercy upon our own syllogisms. We consider that we are entitled to at least 13 pages of gross and stupid erors. After that we shall have to explain. page 643 - As to data that we shall now take up, I say to myself: "You are a benign ghoul, digging up the dead, old legends and superstitions, trying to breath life into them. Well, then, why have you neglected Santa Claus?" What use is Fort today? Most published Forteans (Keel, Coleman) are on-site researchers, methodically tracking down and experiencing that of which they write. The only place Charles Fort traveled to was the library. Fort would think that his writings and opinions were above classification, and if anyone is, he is probably the one. But we have to connect all writers to something. I see alot of Hegel in his writings, particularly in his dialectical analyses and his fixation on negation. Hegel's famous quote - The whole of philosophy resembles a circle of circles - is hearkened to in Fort's famous circle quotation. But this is no philosophy text. You could boil down Fort's philosophy in Book of Damned to a concise three pages. Yet Fort reiterates, and rephrases, and belabors. And it's excruciatingly enjoyable. If you don't like being told the same thing over and over again, albeit wittiily and elaborately and incorrigibly, don't read this book. I treat Fort like I treat the Bible. I don't mean that irreverently (I happen to think the Bible is pretty holy meself). Open the 1100+ page book anywhere, and read a chapter. Be enlightened, be bemused, be annoyed. Maybe the response is the key. Fort had his pet theories, and they are absurd. But he was onto something. An absoluteness I think. He lambasts religion, and he really lays into science. This may offend people, but theories are meant to be attacked, aren't they? And that is the primary Fortean dogma. Forteans are a motley and diverse bunch. Yes, you'll find UFO passages, animal mutilations, falling frogs. To me, the details are only significant in volume. If you decide to read this book, leave your pet theories outside of the covers. I like to believe that Fort was searching for the Absolute, even if the Absolute turns out to be completely absurd to the human perspective. If absolute theories exist, it might only be our ignorance and prejudice which make them absurd. Oh I could say that everybody should read this book. But the fact is most people won't get through the first chapter. This book is an artifact in many ways, and was written for people with certain intellectual and literary backgrounds. If that sounds a bit snobbish, so be it. Fort was such a snob that he kept his circle of friends exceedingly small, and treated well-respected ideas like lepers. Today, I encounter this book much like I did almost twenty years ago. Like a child, full of wonder, and ready to believe and disbelieve anything.
53 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Mind open, tongue in cheek, questions ready.16 avril 2001
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It would be foolish, really, to try and write a review that in some way offers more information than the one by Jesper Sampaio. And so, I don't intend to. I merely want to offer a few instructions and my own opinion. Instruction number one: don't take it at face value. Many of the explanations Fort offers for any number of unexplained phenomena are intentionally fantastic, sarcastic or ironic. It is, I think, part of his overall effort to get people to question the "conventional" explanation. Many scientific explanations, after all, simply fit the facts available and, in that respect, are no more or less valid than some of Fort's. Instruction number two: get ready for rather turgid prose. I personally like the way Fort writes, but it can be tough to get through for the uninitiated. Remember that he was writing in the early part of the century. Instruction number three: don't be afraid to jump around. I know it's best to read these books "back to back" as it were, but it's not necessary. If you get tired of a particular avenue of discussion just jump ahead. Skip to a different book if you want. Part of my enjoyment of these books was being able to pick the volume up whenever the mood struck me and simply open to any chapter. Sure you miss some of the overarching themes, but it makes it much easier to enjoy. So, for what it's worth, here's my opinion: This is a really great primer for Forteana and unexplained phenomena. It is also a sharp and witty condemnation of blind trust in ANY particular system of belief and of the scientific view in particular. The scientific view receives particular condemnation, I think, because of the tendency of those within the scientific community to speak in absolutes. Science, says Fort, has a nasty habit of drawing lines in the sand and saying "this is the way things are" and condemning anyone who says different. The Earth is the center of the universe and rocks don't fall from the sky. Eventually the line gets redrawn, but Fort suggests that perhaps scientists should have just as healthy a sense of skepticism about their own fields of study as they do about the more fantastic things they habitually reject. Enjoyable by believers and skeptics alike, the Complete Works of Charles Fort is both entertaining and thought provoking.
96 internautes sur 102 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Reading is one of the things you should do for yourself.5 avril 2000
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It is not infrequent to hear establishment scientists label unconventional research work as 'pseudo-science', especially if the researcher in question lacks special academic credentials or institutional support and if his discoveries and conclusions go against current dogmas. But when someone's heresy goes beyond all institutional seriousness and loses its last grain of prim, scientific respectability, then even stronger expressions, such as the term "Fortean", will have to be flung at the anathematized one. But who was this man called Fort whom every good scientist must abjure in a solemn oath? Well, historically speaking, Fort was (I suppose) the first writer to give systematical attention to a great number of phenomena generally termed 'anomalous' (in the areas of ufology, cryptozoology, parapsychology and many others) and has been a source of inspiration for several writers and - it must be admitted - some crackpot researchers. But is that all? No, definitely not, but in the case of Fort other people's opinions (including my own) will be of almost no avail to the uninitiated, so there is only one answer to the question above: Read Fort's books, and form your own opinion about the man and his work. That's what I did myself: I got the Dover omnibus volume of his complete works to pollute my innocent mind with, and - ensconced in an old and spacey rocking chair - read every line of it. Now Fort is difficult reading: his style is full of surprises, allusions to subjects touched upon hundreds of pages back, preciously ironical remarks, creative metaphors and analogies (mostly incomplete or faulty, but nevertheless very funny), and - of course - a lot of philosophy: his weak side, if it be permitted to say so. Each book was meant to be read from first to last page, no skipping, because the facts exposed, though apparently whimsical and haphazard, really follow a careful order of presentation. Fort's works are valuable for the extremely hard-gathered information they present (you can decide for yourself what to do with it) and for the way universally accepted ideas and concepts are challenged and played with for the sake of intellectual amusement (can't scientists see that? haven't they got the slightest bit of sense of humor? in his last book, however, Fort takes on a bit more of the grave air of the parapsychologist, and so comes close to resembling a 'true scientist'). Fort is someone you have a great time reading no matter how much you disagree with him, and that's not a small accomplishment, I think. Actually, one may say that the act of listening does not imply being in agreement or disagreement with the speaker. And so there should be no hard-felt need for the reader to accept or oppose Fort's views as such. These are inalienable from the man and his unique writing style, and so may be comfortably left where they are. Below are a few typically 'Fortean' quotes, extracted from the omnibus volume reviewed: - "Sciences are islands of seeming stability in a cosmic jelly."(p.335) - "All knowledge is (or implies) the degradation of something. One who learns of metabolism, looks at a Venus, and realizes she's partly rotten. However, she smiles at him, and he renews his ignorance. All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes."(p.547) - "To have an opinion one must overlook something."(p.559) - "There would not be so much science, if people had good memories."(p.576) - "So, like everybody else, I don't know what to think, but, rather uncommonly, I know that."(p.617) - "Now and then admirers of my good works write to me, and try to convert me into believing things that I say. He would have to be an eloquent admirer, who could persuade me into thinking that our present expression is not a least a little fanciful; but just the same I have labored to support it. I labor like workers in a beehive, to support a lot of vagabond notions."(p.641) - "If there has never been, finally, a natural explanation of anything, everything is, naturally enough, the supernatural."(p.655) - "Every scientist who has played a part in any developing science has, as can be shown, if he's been dead long enough, by comparing his views with more modern views, deceived himself."(p.669) - "In the oneness of allness, I am, in some degree or aspect, guilty of, or infected with, or suffering from, everything that I attack."(p.828) - "To this day it has not been decided whether I am a humorist or a scientist."(p.850)
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Fossils in meteorites?12 décembre 2004
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From page 80 in Fort's "The Book Of The Damned" published in 1919: "Dr. Hahn said he had found fossils in meteorites." Fred Hoyle, the British astronomer, published in his 1984 book "The Intelligent Universe," photographs of fossils in a meteorite. Of course, in 1996 NASA announced finding fossils in a meteorite. What took NASA so long?
Fort's point: What doesn't fit in is damned. What other strange phenomena have been excluded from respectable consideration? Fort tells of fish and stones falling from the clouds, strange craft cruising the skies in the 1890's, lights moving beneath the surface of the sea, vitrified (melted) stone forts in Scotland, disappearing stars, red rain, unknown planets crossing the sun, and sea serpents.
Fort's style of extreme and fantastic hyperbole makes for difficult reading until the reader allows his thinking to slide into the Fortean mode. Of course, thats what Fort had in mind all along, to stretch the reader's thinking to the point where he will at least consider what others have ignored.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Indispensible, inimitable, incorrigible.22 février 1997
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Charles Fort collected what he called "damned facts"; facts that science refused to acknowledge; rains of frogs, eclipses that shouldn't happen, sheep-mutilating werewolves and disappearing Ambroses. He had several mutually contradictory theories to explain them ("I think we're fished for" is perhaps my favorite) and wrote in a jaunty, wry, telegraphic style that could define "inimitable." Indispensible for the well-read UFOlogist or lover of the bizarre, this omnibus volume is indexed by place, date, and type of incident ("Periwinkles, fall of"). Really, Fort should be required reading for all journalists, scientists, and saucer-watchers, if only because of the fights it would start