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A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959)

de Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Leibowitz (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
11,820310554 (3.93)4 / 515
Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of twentieth-century literature??a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

In a nightmarish, ruined world, slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infantile rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece.… (més)

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    Anathem de Neal Stephenson (vnovak, szarka)
  3. 154
    Un món feliç de Aldous Huxley (PandorasRequiem)
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    La Fundació de Isaac Asimov (yokai)
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  7. 61
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  10. 30
    The Passage de Justin Cronin (StefanY)
  11. 20
    Walter M. Miller, Jr.: A Reference Guide to His Fiction and His Life de William H. Roberson (Birlinn)
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    Black de Ted Dekker (cf66)
  13. 20
    Love in the Ruins de Walker Percy (agyapw)
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    The Pasho (novelette) de Paolo Bacigalupi (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Bacigalupi presents another scholar in a post-apocalypse.
  15. 20
    Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse de John Joseph Adams (goodiegoodie)
  16. 10
    The Long Tomorrow de Leigh Brackett (LamontCranston)
  17. 10
    Engine Summer de John Crowley (Rosenort)
    Rosenort: Post-Apocalyptic set much after the actual event.
  18. 10
    Glorificemus: A Study of the Fiction of Walter M. Miller, Jr. de Rose Secrest (Birlinn)
  19. 10
    The Enemy Papers de Barry B. Longyear (RyderAuthorResources)
    RyderAuthorResources: There are many similarities: both consist of three related novellas that tell one book-spanning story; both deal with the "problem" of peace; both are filled with compassionate insight; and both have made me cry more than once.
  20. 10
    The Book of Thomas: Heaven de Robert Boyczuk (ShelfMonkey)

(Mira totes les recomanacions 31)

1960s (9)
1950s (145)
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» Mira també 515 mencions

Anglès (300)  Francès (3)  Castellà (2)  Italià (1)  Hebreu (1)  Finès (1)  Totes les llengües (308)
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Enjoyed this in my teens, but not so much now. ( )
  sfj2 | Jun 15, 2024 |
Having read his excellent short story collection, I had high hopes for his seminal post-apocalyptic novel. Unfortunately, this has been inconsistently enjoyable and is another example of trying to gel too many things - in this case philosophy, christian mythology, satire and post-apocalyptic dystopia - into one book and not landing with any of them except the setting.

The writing is a dull, meandering mess of often garbled passages (sometimes deliberately in a poor contribution to his attempt to satirise) that rarely contribute to progressing any sense of story or idealism. Sometimes it's clear what Miller is trying to convey with his thoughts and ideas, but usually it ends up a mess.

The characters are fun characactures and Brother Francis' story is the stand out and has the feel of classic parable, with moments of light comedy. But after the tale moves forward in time, there's not much to enjoy. The second act plods along laboriously, with at least some fun connections to what came before and interesting thoughts about the cyclical nature of society, history and technology. A few parallels to history did at least add small value in being thought provoking, but weren't enough to sustain a story over the course of an entire novel. I had hoped it was just the middle Act which bogged things down, but it actually proceeded to get worse and ever more pointless in the final third.

A nice idea which failed to satisfactorly develop and succeeded only in the author showing off his latin and ability to meaninglessly philosophise, with only some interesting thoughts on cyclical history to save it. ( )
  KevDS | May 24, 2024 |
Having just come from back from a trip from Cyprus which saw me admiring old and venerable iconostasis, listen to the eerie chants of mass goers behind closed church doors and getting glimpses of the devout kissing pictures of saints, a reread of A Canticle Of Leibowitz was just was the doctor ordered, so to speak.
This book gives me the goosebumps still and because of my recent experiences in and around Byzantine churches, the (re)reading experience was amplified.
The setting is post-deluge - civilization had been utterly destroyed in a nuclear holocaust- and it is a sort of Christian order, the order of the St. Leibowitz that becomes the caretaker and perhaps more importantly the interpreter of past knowledge. The parallels between the Christian church after the destruction of the Roman Empire are striking, by the way.
“From the monster Fallout - deliver us.”
“From the spirit of fornication - deliver us.”
“From the Strontium, the Casium, the Cobalt- deliver us
It all kicks into gear when brother Francis finds among other items, a shopping list and a drawing of a circuit plan in an old fallout shelter which become objects of religious veneration.
It is then when taken out of context, we realize how easily the banal, the trivial is recognized as the ultimately profound, the lifeless becomes alive and ignorance becomes king. We, through the endless arrogance of contemporary societies are not aware that each and everyone of us, just as brother Francis and the whole church of St. Leibowitz, are forever dwelling inside universal concentric circles of dramatic irony. In that sense, ignorance permeates all there is and can’t be abdicated.
Walter Miller’s tale is a forever masterpiece, a classic of speculative fiction. Ah, what arrogance to suppose, to claim that anything can be forever-lasting .
Yet, Miller’s work ticks all the boxes. It is masterly eloquent, at times lusciously, then disturbingly ironic.
“What did the world weigh? It weighs but is not weighed. Sometimes it’s scales are crooked. It weighs life and labor in the balance against silver and gold. That will never balance. But fast and ruthless it keeps on that way. It spills a lot of life that way and sometimes a little gold. And blindfolded a king comes riding across the desert with a set of crooked scales, a pair of loaded dice and upon the flag is emblazoned vexileragis.”
The plot moves on like a steam engine, undisturbed and not caring for a reader’s preference. Driven by the stark reality of circumstance, it takes no prisoners. Simply wonderfully profound. Ah, I’m getting carried away.
A spiritu fornicationis, Domine, libera nos (in religious context fornication is often used as idolatry) Deliver me from the sin of idolatry.
Deo gratias. ( )
1 vota nitrolpost | Mar 19, 2024 |
She leaned close to whisper behind her hand. “I need be giving shriv’ness to Him, as well.”
The priest recoiled slightly. “To whom? I don’t understand.”
“Shriv’ness-to Him who made me as I am,” she whimpered. But then a slow smile spread her mouth. “I-I never forgave Him for it.”
“Forgive God? How can you-? He is just. He is Justice, He is Love. How can you say-?”
Her eyes pleaded with him. “Mayn’t an old tumater woman forgive Him just a little for His Justice? Afor I be asking His shriv’ness on me?”


A book about hope, death, suffering, endings, nostalgia, heritage, preservation, change, what actually matters, whether a small group of people has the power to change the world, tradition, and other stuff that I'm bad at articulating. Pretty depressing too. It gives an amazing sense of time passing, of how things change, how people forget and remember. The society presented feels real.

I came away with a feeling of just how important nuclear disarmament is, how important peace is, how disgusting justifications for war are. I feel like there's more to say but it's hard to articulate, there's a lot to think about that feels like it needs an essay to put into words.

The ending is a little weird and it's really depressing sometimes and the Latin can be a bit confusing with no translation (BUT whenever it's key to the story it's translated) but otherwise it's great.

Also, I will say that although they get only minimal mention in the book: I have strong sympathy for the "Simpletons" (very minor early spoiler) who burned the books. ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
This is my book. I hardly ever read books twice, but I've read this at least four times. I'm not sure I can write anything about it that would be useful for another person. I find it utterly wrenching, sorrowful, human. ( )
  mmparker | Oct 24, 2023 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Miller, Walter M., Jr.autor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Feck, LouAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jones, PeterAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Marosz, JonathanNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Picacio, JohnAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rambelli, RobertaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Russell, Mary DoriaIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Serrano, ErvinDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Viskupic, GaryAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Weiner, TomNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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a dedication is only
a scratch where it itches—
for ANNE, then
in whose bosom RACHEL lies
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guiding my clumsy song
and giggling between the lines
—with blessings, Lass
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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)
Brother Francis was copying only the body of the text onto new parchment, leaving spaces for the splendid capitals and margins as wide as the text lines. Other craftsmen would fill in riots of colour around his simply inked copy and would construct the pictorial capitals.
Brother Francis found the finest available lambskin and spent several weeks of his spare time at curing it and stretching it and stoning it to a perfect surface, which he eventually bleached to a snowy whiteness.
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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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Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of twentieth-century literature??a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

In a nightmarish, ruined world, slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infantile rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece.

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