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Quicksilver

Presentation on the book, Quicksilver, a combination of its preceeding three books.
by

Ker Farn Lee

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Quicksilver

QuickSilver Book By: Neal Stephenson Introduction Quicksilver is a historical novel consisting of three preceeding books of Quicksilver itself, King of the Vagabonds and Odalisque. Quicksilver, the first book, generally describes the adventure of Daniel Waterhouse, a wise individual who had numerous dealings with other notable individuals in the 1600's and the 1700's. With the conclusion of Daniel Waterhouse escaping from the pirate, Edward Teach or notoriously known as 'Blackbeard'. The book, The King of the Vagabonds London In Quicksilver, London is a
major setting in which Daniel tries to accomplish his mission
of halting the feud between Issac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz.
Furthermore, London remains as an important city and setting for
the other two books, in which Jack Shaftoe and the younger Daniel
Waterhouse had numerous adventures there. Amsterdam and France
are both important locations that Jack and Eliza had traveled upon,
as well as the Harz Mountain, in which the two characters trade numerous
items for money. Lastly, Massachusetts is the last residence of Daniel
Waterhouse and Atlantic Ocean is where Daniel had spent weeks upon,
sailing back to London. Vienna is where Jack had fought the Battle of
Vienna. Setting Author- Neal Stephenson Neal Stephenson is an accomplished author born into a family of engineers and scientists, born at October 31, 1959 in Maryland . With a family full of scientific knowledge and perspective, he was able to easily extract information for his science-fiction novels. Neal Stephenson's first two novels gain very little attention, however his publication of a cyberpunk novel, Snow Crash (1992) had gain him an immense popularity and established him as a leading author in the cyberpunk genre. Soon, he extended his genre into history, as well. Thus, leading to the publication of Quicksilver, The confusion and The System of The World, which comprise a trilogy known famously as The Baroque Cycle. Recent breakthrough novels include Anathem and other historically-based novels. Inspiration and Purpose of
The Baroque Cycle Neal Stephenson's inspiration and his ultimate
purpose in writing The Baroque Cycle is mainly due to his wish to expand his growing interest towards the Baroque-era in Europe and the development of events, such as the times of the Glorious Revolution. Inspiration arrived to him when he was working on his previous novel, Cryptonomicon, and he also face a statement by George Dyson in 'Darwin Amongst the Machines' suggesting that Leibniz was "arguably the founder of symbolic logic and he worked with computing machines." Another purpose of writing this trilogy was the goal to improve his genre of history in writing Europe-1600's and 1700's Plot The volume, Quicksilver is divided into three crucial sections: Quicksilver, King of the Vagabonds, and Odalisque. In the first section, the story emphasizes on a notorious Enoch Root arriving at Massachusetts to convince a genius, Daniel Waterhouse to return back to England, in order to restore peace between Issac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. The story focuses mainly on flashbacks of Daniel Waterhouse during his times on the Atlantic Ocean, featuring his role in the Plague and his connections with other notable sceintists, like Robert Hooke. The story journey back to present times when the ship Daniel was on, was brutually attacked by Edward Teach (Blackbeard)'s crews.
King of the Vagabonds emphasizes onthe travel of Jack Shaftoe, an individual with great charisma and his adventures across the continent of Europe. The section begins with Jack's childhood and his exotic part-time job, such as hanging on the legs on hanged men to let them die much faster. The story then focus on Jack's encounters with Eliza, a captured slave. After freeing her, both individuals venture throughout Europe, serving loyalty to different courts and eventually encounter their common enemies, who are of high royalty.
Odalisque returns back to Daniel Waterhouse in 1685, who is of service to the British court, while Eliza becomes a governess in Versailles. The two individuals eventually meets, despite their support for two opposing court (Daniel supports the British and Eliza supports the French). After a whirl of events, include the Glorious Revolution, in which James II was sacked as a king, Daniel captured by a notorious judge called George Jeffreys, as the Glorious Revolution strengthen. With the expulsion of King James II, Daniel returns to London, executed Jefferys and flee to Massachusetts, with a serious case of bladder stone, which had nearly ended his life. Theme Conclusion: Good or Bad Book? Relevance of the Novel Picture Gallery Author's Style Neal Stephenson wrote in an omniscient presence, occasionally armed with clever jokes or punes. Quicksilver is also often written in different narrative styles of first person and third person, often with the protraying of personal thoughts of the character. Furthermore, extensive skills of literature are also utilized, such as cryptographic messaging, drama and the 17th century style of literature. Stephenson had also managed to balanced the desire to respect the period and the development into a likeable novel in present times Important Elements The central idea/theme in this book is the importance of the pursue of knowledge, answering curiosity and replenish new ideals. Furthermore, the book highlights the importance of the Enlightenment and it place the readers in a world of outrageous science theories and ideas. More importantly, Stephenson had also allowed information and ideas to become highly prominent throughout the book. With the interactions of intrigue, economics, wars, plague and other disasters, Stephenson had made characters as the ''carriers of information'', making the passing on of information the grand highlight of theme. Characters The major characters of the story are Enoch Root (A elusive alchemist), Daniel Waterhouse (a prominent character and member of the Royal Society), Jack Shaftoe (The rescuer of Eliza and the King of Vagabonds) and Eliza ( A former slave who becomes a French countess and spy for important characters like William of Orange. Minor characters are Robert Hooke, John Churchill,m Judge Jeffreys, Duke of Monmouth, James Stuart etc.
Due to the themes of the story, Neal Stephenson had made each character a "carrier of information" and thus every character changes within the context of the story.

The heart of the novel resides in the fact the protraying ideal that every character, person should attempt to pursue knowledge and answers to the greatest curiosity at all attempts. Every characters shown in the book, either challenged a great idea or support it, thus depending on their chosen path, they become a "carrier of information", ready to pass the knowledge on to later generations.
Such ideal was protrayed in Daniel Waterhouse's time in the Baroque-era, where 'reason wars with the ambitions of the mighty', where reasons can be easily bend by catastrophes. In my own personal opinion, Quicksilver is a tremendously wonderful book, as it not only protrays a sense of interest in its readers, but also give an insight to historical issues such as the Glorious Revolution and The Plague. With two such advantages, Quicksilver is made as a simply splendid literary work. However, it is also flawed by its immerse demand on a basis of historical knowledge, which is apparently a disadvantage for readers with no historical knowledge of Europe in its Enlightenment, as well as key prominent individuals. As mentioned in Important Elements, the novel is relevant to
real life or present times, due to the importance of the scientific theories we'd
witnessed in the Baroque-era, where famous scientists, like Isaac Newton and Robert
Hooke first came up with raw theories. Due to such information, we're able to learn quite a deal of history and science from the book, Quicksilver. Vienna Harz Mountain Amsterdam France Massachusetts Atlantic Ocean
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