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A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)

av Walter M. Miller, Jr.

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Serier: Leibowitz (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
9,683270539 (3.95)1 / 457
Many years after a nuclear war, scholars seeking the old learning come to a monastery where much knowledge has been preserved.
1960s (14)
1950s (184)

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engelska (264)  franska (3)  finska (1)  italienska (1)  hebreiska (1)  Alla språk (270)
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post apocalyptic story that follows the monks of St. Leibowitz over several generations ( )
  Saraishelafs | Nov 4, 2020 |

At the same time, much of these questions are only interesting for readers that adhere to a belief in a personal god yet struggle with injustice & sorrow. If you don’t believe in god – or if your particular belief system manages to explain human sorrow to your satisfaction – most of the questions the book puts forward are moot. As such, the book has not aged very well – the number of people that embrace a traditional theistic world view has dwindled and will continue to dwindle.

That absolutely doesn’t mean the book has no merit left, as even without the moral-religious questions, A Canticle works as a character study. It is about (religious) men trying to make sense of their world, trying to hold or improve their positions, amidst conflict, degeneration, revival and looming extinction. Scenes like the one in which a mutant, double headed woman forgives god himself are powerful, whatever your religious inclinations are.


Full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Sep 28, 2020 |
Quid enim mirabilius quam monachi in Apocalypse! I don’t know why, but there is something very cool about Monks in the Apocalypse. “A Canticle for Leibowitz” was published in 1959 and Walter M. Miller Jr. won the Hugo in 1961. It was a mainstream bestseller and, I believe, has remain continuously in print ever since. It’s not only considered a science-fiction classic, but also a literary masterpiece.

In 1959 the Cold War was heating up as Russia and the U.S. maneuvered for influence in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In 1954 the U.S. had completed the Castle Bravo test on Bikini Atoll with a hydrogen bomb that yielded 14.8 megatons. The Soviets followed in 1955 with a 1.6 megaton test. The capability for full mutual destruction wasn’t in place by 1959, but the two superpowers were racing towards it. Meanwhile, earlier during World War II, Walter M. Miller, Jr. flew on a bomber that helped demolish a 6th century Christian monastery at Monte Cassino, Italy, clearly a catalyst for the story.

This was a novel that grew over time. Miller first authored a short story, “A Canticle for Leibowitz” around 1954 which evolved into “Fiat Homo” and was published in 1955. He then published the second section in 1956 and wrote and published the third, “The Last Canticle” in 1957. The growth of the novel allowed Miller to develop a layered, intricate tale that is rich in theme.

The plot begins with Brother Francis on a vigil in the desert. The world has fallen into a new Dark Age. With the help of a mysterious Wanderer, he discovered a fallout shelter with preserved ancient documents from before the “Flame Deluge.” Some of the documents appear to be written by his order’s founder, Leibowitz. Brother Francis and his order attempt to have Leibowitz canonized due to establishment of the Order and his preservation of pre-war knowledge. The second part of the novel sees the ending of the Dark Ages and a Renaissance begins. In the backdrop of warring city states, the Order continues to preserve and study the Leibowitz knowledge and one Brother Kornhoer, develops a treadmill-powered electrical generator. In the third section, we jump forward in time significantly (around 600 years?) and mankind now has starships and colonies on distant worlds as well as nuclear weapons. A city-level nuclear attack occurs and much of the third section deals with the Order both sheltering refugees and preparing for potential nuclear annihilation. I’ll stop there to avoid spoilers.

This book is chocked full of themes and philosophy. It explores mankind’s tendency to rise and fall, the value and danger of scientific knowledge, the tension of Church and State, and other religious conflicts. Its use of a strange title, religious terminology, and extensive Latin passages throughout the book, help to give it solemnity and gravity. However, the novel also has its humorous moments and its most interesting characters are often comical and odd. Miller also dances around mysticism and outright miracles, leaving just enough ambiguity to allow the reader to interpret the incidents.

If this book has faults, they are subtle. As far as I can recall, there are only two significant female character in the book. Even if we allow that the Order is male only, there are no female characters discussed during the ‘palace intrigue’ of State leaders or in the nomadic tribes. It certainly doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. I also found it, despite being in the backdrop of nuclear apocalypse, somewhat emotionally stunted. Most dialog focused on the intellectual aspects of the themes and very rarely on the feelings of the characters. Finally, since characters do not continue on between sections, we need to reengage with new characters in each section. The backdrop, history, and setting are the same, but it’s a little problematic to trade in characters with each section. For me, this lack of feeling and character changeover made it difficult to engage emotionally with the story. However, it didn’t limit my ability to appreciate the witty dialog and intellectual arguments. Not that it’s anywhere near the first apocalyptic novel, but I do appreciate the realistic portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world, complete with the corresponding ignorance, politics, and horror of a fallen modern civilization.

An important, intricate, if detached, exploration of a post-nuclear-war world, seen though the eyes of an eclectic order of monks told over more than a thousand years. ( )
2 rösta Kevin_A_Kuhn | Sep 18, 2020 |
Astounding, brilliant and utterly terrifying. ( )
  Mithril | Sep 16, 2020 |
Another book I was reading back during my high school teaching days. At times I wonder now, given the heavy workload I faced, how I managed to read for fun.

Back then, it was my first time reading this book. Here is what I wrote back then:

>>The Church (Catholic) is one of the few surviving institutions, and they assume the task of preserving knowledge. I believe that the parallels to the monastic movement after the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages are apparent and intentional. Overall, the novel is a very interesting piece of writing.
When I actually finished it, I remarked on the tight ending, which I won't spoil for others. But there is a question the book asks, I thought at the time, which is:

>>whether we as a human race can overcome nature or tendency, to destroy ourselves. Maybe some of us out in the stars would be able to as long as no new tyrants rose to life. Who knows?I would like to think that we can solve our problems. The real problem is a sincere desire to solve everything else.
I have had the chance to reread it since then, and I have grown to appreciate it more. However, I am now a bit more cynical as well. Definitely a classic. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (22 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Miller, Walter M., Jr.primär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Feck, LouOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Jones, PeterOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Marosz, JonathanBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Picacio, JohnOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Rambelli, RobertaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Russell, Mary DoriaInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Serrano, ErvinOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Viskupic, GaryOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Weiner, TomBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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a dedication is only
a scratch where it itches—
for ANNE, then
in whose bosom RACHEL lies
guiding my clumsy song
and giggling between the lines
—with blessings, Lass
Inledande ord
Information från den engelska sidan med allmänna fakta. Redigera om du vill anpassa till ditt språk.
Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert.
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There were spaceships again in that century, and the ships were manned by fuzzy impossibilities that walked on two legs and sprouted tufts of hair in unlikely anatomical regions. They were a garrulous kind. They belonged to a race quite capable of admiring its own image in a mirror, and equally capable of cutting its own throat before the alter of some tribal god, such as the deity of Daily Shaving. It was a species which often considered itself to be, basically, a race of divinely inspired tool makers; any intelligent entity from Arcturus would instantly have perceived them to be, basically, a race of impassioned after-dinner speechmakers.
“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew into richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they-this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness.” (page 285)
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Miller published a short story in 1955 with this title. Please do not combine the novel with the short story.
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Many years after a nuclear war, scholars seeking the old learning come to a monastery where much knowledge has been preserved.

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