A short film about measuring the world

Quercus publishing has placed online two five-minute filmed re-enactments from the book "Measuring the World" by Daniel Kehlmann. The novel is a bestseller in Germany (600,000 copies sold, apparently) and will be published in the UK in April, when the author will appear at Hay and Edinburgh festivals. It is about Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss, who are played in the short films by Anthony Sher and Justin Brett, respectively. Apparently the idea is that the filmed scenes will encourage people to buy the book.

For more about the book, here is the review in the Philadelphia Inquirer (mixed), and here is a short piece on ReviewsofBooks (which provides links to other reviews and to Amazon sites).

2 thoughts on “A short film about measuring the world

  1. Those films would not entice me to read the book. Fortunately, I did read it though, last summer. It was a great read and I warmly recommend the book. Maybe that will encourage someone to buy the book?

  2. Thanks, maup. Nature reviewed the book yesterday,
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7129/full/445713a.html .
    here is a quote from the review:
    “Kehlmann, then, does a good job of capturing the strangeness and comedy of science, as well as the powerful sense of futility that can afflict researchers from time to time. But he doesn’t get near to explaining why, despite its oddness, science provides such powerful and beautiful answers to our questions, or why mathematics has such an uncanny power to provide these answers. Nor do we get any idea why a few people, such as Gauss, have mathematical abilities that seem supernatural to the rest of us, or why others, such as Humboldt, are willing to give up their fortunes, comforts and sometimes lives to see, and measure, what’s over the horizon. Quite right too, I’m tempted to think — where would the fun be in knowing that?”

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