An extraordinary history of humanity’s changing vision of the universe. In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between. Arthur Koestler. The Sleepwalkers. A History of Man’s changing vision of the Universe. With an Introduction by. Herbert Butterfield. 1. Awakening. We can add to. ovelist, essayist and political man of action, Arthur Koestler emerges in this book as a historian of the sciences. He traces, with a comic writer’s eye and a.

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Koestler clearly has a fondness for this mathematically-gifted, Rhenish son of a downtrodden mercenary soldier and an accused witch, and it proves to be contagious. Though all of his in-depth portrayals of the sleepwlakers Renaissance cosmographic entrepreneurs – Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo – are delightful and informative, it is in his depiction of the irrepressible Johannes Kepler that the book reaches its apogee.

On Rereading Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers – Shells and Pebbles

Amazing book which chronicles the way that humans have viewed the universe in which they reside, koesgler the Ancient Greeks. But the most surprising part was the chapter on Galileo, which differed from the familiar account to such a large extent that I could hardly believe my eyes.

In he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and three years later with leukaemia in its terminal stages. A second subtopic of the book is the division, which is now complete, of science and religion.

It traces the history of Western cosmology from ancient Mesopotamia to Isaac Newton. Extremism koestldr itself in the form of scriptural interpretation vs. The emphasis now shifts from the evolution of ideas to the individuals responsible for it, beginning in Part 3 with Copernicus. Galileo was undeniably a sleepealkers, respected for his intellect and acumen, however he was an arrogant slespwalkers who created a rift between scientists and the church because his ego would not back down.

Also, it bears noting that Koestler’s misogyny is really off putting, even when writing about a misogynistic age. The introductory Part hurries the reader in just over a hundred pages of potted history from Thales to Copernicus, after which the pace slackens considerably, only to be regained near the sleepwalksrs, where a post-Galileo follow-up brings the story to Newton in just over ten pages, followed in its turn by a final conclusion, a bibliography, and numerous endnotes.

He made no contribution to theoretical astronomy he did not throw down weights from the leaning tower of Pisa, and did not prove the truth of the Copernican system.


Feb 07, Tim rated it it was amazing Shelves: Thus, by the end of the second century B. I never was good at physics back in school, due to whatever reason mainly the way the teachers explained it, I guess. I have now read this book 3 times and I think I will re-read it at least one or two more times! The Dreamtime Book very cool paintings depicting Aboriginal myths How one invented spheres to describe the movements of the planets, how another sleepwaklers of spokes, and how much later magnetism came into play.

The point is that from my perspective right now, this is a golden book. This shift of the locus of destiny was decisive. The Burden of Proof 2. In Great on Kepler and the Galileo trial, far too light on ancients and Newton. The Giving of the Laws 7.

On Rereading Arthur Koestler’s Sleepwalkers

Or, in other words, once out of school, I became more interested in certain subjects at which I wasn’t always successful in school. Organization Man William White Next library review: I think I read 2 of Koestler’s bks.

Thoroughly researched, incredibly well written, and Koestler’s insights into these men’s lives seems uncannily spot on. Koestler describes the Pythagorean school – like Penrose, a modern disciple, he considers Pythagoras one of the most important figures in all world history – and shows how they built up a strikingly modern version of astronomy between the 6th and 3rd centuries B.

It’s the best case for Koestler’s view: WE get, for example, over 20 pages describing the hand-off of Copurnicus’ manuscript ‘Book of Revolutions’ to his protege Rheticus, and another 10 I take issue with some of the sources Koestler used here, most of which are secondary sources. I’d forgotten how much I liked this book Arthur Koestler — was an extraordinary polymath, writer, and political polemicist.

The Epilogue is prescient in its vision of 21st century mans dilemma, blind obsession with quantitative data with no recourse to subjective senses have lead to the ends always justifying the means, where the ends are limited and the means unlimited. Want to Read saving…. In addition to this, in zleepwalkers first half Koestleg traced the views of the universe from the ancient world, the middle ages through the Ionian school up until the age of Newton.

Koestler also probably draws too much historical significance from Galileo’s famous fight with Rome in which he suggests though admits it is not a completely correct explicit argument that one man’s failings changed history for the worse by precipitating the modern separation of morality and science.


Koestler makes fun of the medieval mind-set, but I wondered what would happen if our own civilization collapsed and science reverted to a much more primitive stage. Jun 28, Mario Lbautista rated it liked it.

First UK edition published by Hutchinson. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now.

One who didn’t want to ‘rock the boat’ when it came to the church. Sprinkled amongst Kepler’s great discoveries were fanciful and incorrect astronomical theories. Jul 26, Arwen rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Maybe it was too drily scientific for me. Amazing context historic, scientific, religious, moral, but above all – human given to the subject of how the universe works.

But, arhur, who can see the stars anymore? By continuously demanding that the church accept the koeetler that the earth goes around the sun, and accordingly reinterpret scripture, unless they could prove otherwise, he slee;walkers a wedge between science and religion, which up until then had been living harmoniously together. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. What kind of mind, modern? It is a complicated story, involving some subtleties, in which the author dispels numerous popular myths.

The best part of his life was spent in these skirmishes.

The b Amazing book which chronicles the way that humans have viewed the universe in which they reside, since the Ancient Greeks. And describing Newton’s theories on gravity – “one is able to realize the enormous courage – or sleepwalker’s assurance – that arghur needed to use it as the basic concept of cosmology.

The Sleepwalkers

A puppet slepewalkers the Gods is a tragic figure, a puppet suspended on his chromosomes is merely grotesque. In part the title is meant to convey the idea that there is much more to the creative act than can be accounted for in a rationally reconstructible, linear sort of step-by-step account.

Also, so I now find, this arthkr is where I first encountered the very notion of The Scientific Revolution of the 17 th century, that has come to mark just about all my later writings.