Curiosity

Alberto Manguel

NON FICTION. YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2015. 382 PAGES.

Curiosity has been seen through the ages as the impulse that drives our knowledge forward and the temptation that leads us toward dangerous and forbidden waters. The question “Why?” has appeared under a multiplicity of guises and in vastly different contexts throughout the chapters of human history. Why does evil exist? What is beauty? How does language inform us? What defines our identity? What is our responsibility to the world? In Alberto Manguel’s most personal book to date, the author tracks his own life of curiosity through the reading that has mapped his way.

Manguel chooses as his guides a selection of writers who sparked his imagination. He dedicates each chapter to a single thinker, scientist, artist, or other figure who demonstrated in a fresh way how to ask “Why?” Leading us through a full gallery of inquisitives, among them Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, Lewis Carroll, Rachel Carson, Socrates, and, most importantly, Dante, Manguel affirms how deeply connected our curiosity is to the readings that most astonish us, and how essential to the soaring of our own imaginations.

Great review by Andrea Goldsmith of Curiosity, in the Australian Book Review.

Alberto Manguel' article about Curiosity and the desire to know, in Letras Libres (Spanish).

"How wonderfully appropriate that the endlessly inquisitive

Alberto Manguel should consider the fascinating concept of curiosity.

Fueled by a lifetime of reading, and with Dante as his guide,

he embarks on an elegantly conceived excursion of the mind,

driven by a single, timeless word – why?"

 Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of On paper and Gentle Madness 

 

“Manguel travels through books in the same way as he travels through

various countries. He meets new friends and asks questions of them

about himself, and about life. In a style which is all his own,

he delights us with the unlimited bounds of human curiosity”

Lina Bolzoni

 

“Alberto Manguel is a wanderer among books, immensely curious

in such an intriguing way that he lets his readers

easily discover the fruits of his curiosity.”

Roberto Calasso

 

“Manguel vaults over the traditional fences of genre, literary history,

and discipline with breathtaking virtuosity. He is the Montaigne de nos jours

and, as regards this latest effort, if they put another rover on Mars

they should call it 'Manguel'.”

John Sutherland, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LONDON

 

“For Alberto Manguel reading is a pilgrimage, a secular-sacred

encounter with mystery, and a way of reinvigorating the dead.  

Dante and Montaigne and Pinocchio’s Collodi are his guides and his intimates

in this passionate quest for knowledge, but it is the state of inquiry itself

and even doubt that define for him the pleasures of curiosity.

With his loving, keenly felt, highly enjoyable delving into writers

and their writings, Manguel argues for literature’s revelatory illusions,

its epiphanies and its testimony.”

Marina Warner, author of Stranger Magic: Charmed States the Arabian Nights

 

"This is a dynamic, lively book that leads the reader

to appreciate the pleasures and the power of curiosity.

In writing its remarkable history Alberto Manguel sees it both

as a primary passion and as a force behind all intellectual experiences.  

In a sort of encyclopedic narrative Manguel journeys over the most

distant places-- from Dante’s Florence to Rome, Jerusalem, Athens,

and Latin America etc. and he invites us to a grand tour

of wonders and surprises.”

Giuseppe Mazzotta, YALE UNIVERSITY

 

PUBLISHED BY: Spain ALIANZA | Argentina SIGLO XXI | Arabic AL SAQI | Brazil COMPANHIA DAS LETRAS | Canada Fr. LEMEAC | English world rights YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS | French ACTES SUD | Germany FISCHER | Italy FELTRINELLI | Korea WISDOMHOUSE PUBLISHING | Mexico ALMADÍA | Portugal TINTA DA CHINA | Russia IVAN LIMBAKH | Turkey YAPI KREDI

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