2012年3月8日 星期四

*The Magus/ Einstein's Heroes

Einstein's Heroes

Imagining the World through the Language of Mathematics
ISBN13: 9780195308907ISBN10: 0195308905 Paperback, 336 pages
, In Stock


Blending science, history, and biography, this remarkable book reveals the mysteries of mathematics, focusing on the life and work of three of Albert Einstein's heroes: Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and especially James Clerk Maxwell, whose work directly inspired the theory of relativity. Robyn Arianrhod bridges the gap between science and literature, portraying mathematics as a language and arguing that a physical theory is a work of imagination involving the elegant and clever use of this language. The heart of the book illuminates how Maxwell, using the language of mathematics in a new and radical way, resolved the seemingly insoluble controversy between Faraday's idea of lines of force and Newton's theory of action-at-a-distance. In so doing, Maxwell not only produced the first complete mathematical description of electromagnetism, but actually predicted the existence of the radio wave, teasing it out of the mathematical language itself.

Here then is a fascinating look at mathematics: its colorful characters, its historical intrigues, and above all its role as the uncannily accurate language of nature.

Product Details

336 pages; 48 line illus.; 5-5/16 x 8; ISBN13: 978-0-19-530890-7ISBN10: 0-19-530890-5

About the Author(s)

Robyn Arianrhod is a writer and mathematician whose passion for both literature and mathematics reflects her love of language. She teaches mathematics at Monash University, where she is also an Honorary Research Associate.

我買一本Dell 版The Magus by John Fowles. (1965/1978)(第42刷 )
小說 全文 (英文)John Fowles - "The Magus"

日文:『 魔術師 』河出書房新社

約翰.符傲思/{魔法師 The Magus}陳安全等四人譯,台北:皇冠出版社,2004

Wikipedia article "The Magus (novel)".



【週 日泰晤士報】:『《魔法師》充滿了詭譎的氛圍,作者為我們舖陳一個充滿香甜誘惑的道路,引我們進入他的故事大門……然而,當你一旦踏入了那扇門,意識到似 乎發生了什麼事的時候,你會渴望挖掘更多、知道更多故事底層的東西,你甚至會急於知道更多線索,這熾熱的欲念絕對不少於故事的主角于爾夫……』



   當于爾夫前往希臘一個美麗的小島任教時,遇到了一位住在神秘莊園裡的富豪康奇斯。康奇斯奇特的經歷和舉止、反覆無常的態度,讓于爾夫始終摸不清他的真面 目。于爾夫在康奇斯的別墅裡與名叫莉莉的美貌女子相愛,然而風花雪月帶給他的卻只是被折磨和背叛的回憶。這一切究竟是康奇斯的詭計?上帝的遊戲?抑或是對 于爾夫的最後考驗?……

符傲思 John Fowles

傲思的另一代表作《魔法師》,被選為二十世紀百大英文小說經典。 符傲思在以寫作為業之前,曾在希臘、英、法等國擔任了十二年的教職,其中在希臘斯佩德西島上度過的兩年,對他後來的生活和作品都有著啟蒙性的作用,而《魔法師》也正是這一影響下的代表作品。 全書在心理描寫上極為細膩深入,結構奇巧,故事在歷史和現實間不斷切換,撲朔迷離,更揉合了文學、哲學、繪畫、音樂及自然科學等方面的知識,帶領讀者體驗 了一場難以置信的閱讀冒險。

The Magus

The Magus is told from the point of view of Nicholas Urfe, who is bored with life. Having attended Oxford and taught for a year at a public school, he decides to take a position as the English teacher at the Lord Bryon School in Greece, on the island of Phraxos. Nicholas looks up a former teacher there, and is warned to "Beware of the waiting-room," without explanation. Nicholas is not deterred, but during the last few weeks before he leaves, he meets Alison Kelly, an Australian girl who is about to begin training as an airline stewardess. They are both sophisticated about sex and somewhat cynical, but each experiences some regret as they go their separate ways.

During his first six months on Phraxos, Nicholas finds the school claustrophobic but the island beautiful. He realizes that he cannot write good poetry and that he is having difficulty forgetting Alison. In a funk, he visits a brothel in Athens and contracts a venereal disease. He seriously contemplates suicide. The first of the novel's three parts ends at this point.

The mysteries begin as Nicholas goes swimming and someone leaves a book of poems, evidently meant for him to find. As he looks in the woods nearby, he finds a gate to a villa with a nearby sign Salle D'Attente, French for "waiting room." One of his colleagues at the school explains that the villa is owned by a rich recluse named Maurice Conchis. Nicholas decides to look him up and finds, inexplicably, that he is expected. After some conversation, as Nicholas is leaving, he finds an old-fashioned glove on the path and surmises that someone has been watching them.

Invited back for the next weekend, Nicholas is astonished by Conchis' collection of art and by his claim to be psychic. After dinner, Conchis tells Nicholas about an episode in his boyhood when he was fifteen and met a fourteen-year-old girl named Lily Montgomery, whose image haunted him afterward. They were both musically inclined and fell in love, but in 1914, she led him to feel that he ought to volunteer for the army. Conchis explains that he deserted at the battle of Neuve Chapelle, and offers Nicholas a chance to gamble with his own life by rolling a die and promising that he will take a cyanide pill if the die comes up six. It does, but Nicholas refuses to take the pill; Conchis seems to approve his decision, and reveals that the die was loaded against the roller--as was World War I against the soldiers. That night, as Nicholas is going to sleep, he hears voices singing a war song and smells a foul stench.

The next day Conchis encourages Nicholas to read a pamphlet by Robert Foulkes, written as he was waiting to be hanged in 1677. Nicholas takes it with him on a walk, falls asleep, and awakes to see a man in 17th-century dress staring at him from across a ravine. The man disappears before Nicholas can reach him.

At dinner that night, Conchis tells of his wartime pretense to be on leave so that he could return to England to visit Lily. As Nicholas retires, he hears a harpsichord accompanied by a recorder, and investigates, to find Conchis and a beautiful girl dressed in Edwardian clothes, but he declines to interrupt them.

The next weekend "Lily" joins them after dinner and speaks in the language of the early 1900s. Their conversation is interrupted when a horn sounds, a spotlight illuminates a nymph who runs by, pursued by a satyr, and another woman seems to shoot the satyr with an arrow. Nicholas is bewildered but decides that Conchis must be re-creating masques for his own amusement. Lily refuses to explain, and Conchis talks in parables. He describes an attempt to found a Society for Reason after the war, and he tells the story of a rich collector whose mansion is burned by a resentful servant. Nicholas begins to fall in love with Lily, who professes to be as mystified by what Conchis may be up to as Nicholas is. Conchis explains that she is a schizophrenic whom he indulges by letting her manipulate men in the controlled environment at Bourani, but that Nicholas must not believe what she tells him. For the weekend's culminating experience, Conchis hypnotizes Nicholas, who experiences the separateness of himself from everything else. Nicholas leaves eager to return for more adventures.

Alison has invited Nicholas to Athens the next weekend. Nicholas finds the villa closed up, so he meets her and falsely tells her that he is suffering from syphilis. They have an enjoyable weekend climbing in the mountains, at the end of which, back in Athens, Nicholas confesses his lie and tells her about Bourani and Lily. Alison is hurt, and gives him an ultimatum: She will quit her job and join him on Phraxos, or she will leave him. When Nicholas hesitates, a violent argument ensues, and she refuses to let him back in their hotel room.

When Nicholas returns to the villa, Conchis drops the pretense that Lily is a schizophrenic and tells him that she and her twin sister are actresses named Julie and June, whom Conchis has hired for a theatrical experiment. The first evening, Conchis tells Nicholas the story of Henrik Nygaard, a blind madman who believes that he talks with God. Afterward, Nicholas goes to a passionate rendezvous with Julie in the woods, where he is shocked to discover that Julie has sent her twin sister instead. June explains that they feel like prisoners, always watched by Conchis' black valet, Joe, repeatedly told to learn lines and to prepare for improvisations, but never told what it all means. The next day the twins tell Nicholas their backgrounds and show him documents to support their statements. After a day of being shadowed by Joe, even while they are inside an empty chapel, the twins leave with Conchis on his yacht, vowing to insist that he begin to be forthright with them all.

The next Wednesday the yacht returns, and Julie meets Nicholas at night to assure him that there will be no more pretense of schizophrenia; however, Nicholas is to join the twins in the improvisation the next weekend, after which all will be explained. Julie again avoids sex with Nicholas, pleading her menstrual period. On his way back to school in the dark, Nicholas is stopped by a patrol of soldiers in Nazi uniforms, who proceed to beat up a captured partisan. To Nicholas's dismay, he receives a letter on Friday that he will not be welcome, after all, at the villa that weekend.

Nicholas receives two letters the next Thursday, one from Julie indicating that Conchis has told her that Nicholas was sick and the other from Alison's roommate telling Nicholas that Alison has committed suicide. He does not reveal this to Conchis the next weekend, but demands to know the truth. Conchis explains that he is experimenting with a new form of theater, without audience, in which everyone is an actor.

Conchis continues the supposed story of his life with the narrative of the German occupation, when he served as mayor of Phraxos. A crucial event, interpreted differently by different characters in the novel, occurred after the killing of three Austrian soldiers by guerrillas. Conchis was told that the lives of eighty villagers about to be executed in reprisal would be spared if he would club the guerrilla leader to death; he refused, and took his place with the hostages, but managed to survive the mass execution.

Conchis then explains that Julie is his mistress and that they are all about to leave. When Nicholas tries to confront Julie, she disappears, playfully demonstrating one of their hiding places in an old bunker. Inside, she denies what Conchis has said, but as she climbs out of the bunker, she is grabbed and Nicholas locked in. When he gets out, he finds the villa shut up and a skull and a doll hanging from a nearby tree. Nicholas does not know what to think and returns to school.

Several nights later, June appears at the school in distress, concerned about Julie. She says that they have lied to Nicholas and falsified documents about who they are. Nicholas explains that their games have cost the life of Alison. She apologizes, and explains that Conchis is really a psychiatrist doing research and that Julie is at his house in the village, to which June offers to take Nicholas. When he arrives, Nicholas and Julie make passionate love, after which she tells him that Julie is not really her name, and walks out. Three men walk in and restrain Nicholas as they administer an injection that makes him lose consciousness.

Some days later, Nicholas revives, is dressed in ritual garb, and is taken to a chamber decorated with symbols, where he is seated on a throne facing 12 figures in bizarre costumes. As they unmask, they are introduced as psychiatrists, including the former Lily as Dr. Vanessa Maxwell, who reads a clinical diagnosis of Nicholas's psychological problems. She is then stripped to the waist and tied to a flogging frame, as Nicholas is handed a cat-o'-nine-tails and invited to judge her--and the others--by choosing to flay her or not. He declines. Then Nicholas is tied to the frame, to watch Lily and Joe make tender love in front of him. Afterward, he is again made unconscious.

Nicholas awakens on the mainland, alone. He returns to the school and gets himself fired. He goes back to the villa and searches for clues. Although he finds a typescript of a story about how a prince learns to become a magician by accepting that life is full of illusion, Nicholas goes on looking for expla- nations. The second part of the book ends with his discovery that Alison is still alive, her supposed suicide evidently part of the charade.

In the last part, Nicholas continues his research. Nicholas finds no record of Conchis' supposed credentials in psychology. He interviews one of his predecessors at the Lord Byron School, now living as a monk in Italy, but the monk is not interested in helping Nicholas. He finally succeeds in locating a house in which a Montgomery lived during World War I and the inhabitant directs him to one of the Montgomery daughters, a Mrs. Lily de Seitas. At first, she toys with Nicholas, but when he finds out that she has twin daughters of her own, she admits that she is a friend of Conchis--and of Alison. Nicholas is angry, partly over her refusal to tell him where Alison is, but he gradually overcomes his resentment and they meet again.

Nicholas begins to appreciate what has happened, and even declines to discuss it with his immediate predecessor at the Lord Byron School. Finally, Alison appears when he least expects her, and they have a confrontation in Regent's Park, where he at first imagines that they are being watched from Cumberland Terrace. Nicholas issues her an ultimatum--"them or me." She rejects the ultimatum, and Nicholas walks away from her. When she follows him, he slaps her without understanding why. Then he realizes that they are unobserved and asks forgiveness. The novel ends at that point, with their future relationship uncertain.