After I really enjoyed the March pick for my German literature project, I am very curious to move on to Daniel Kehlmann’s Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World). It is one of the most successful German-language books since 1945 and has been translated into 40 languages. I can’t for the life of me figure out how I have not yet read this—or any of Kehlmann’s other books. Since Measuring the World features Alexander von Humboldt, I will read this alongside Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature. Feel free to join me in reading one or both of these books. My review of Measuring the World will go up on April 29.
About the Book (adapted from Goodreads)
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, the Prussian aristocrat Alexander von Humboldt, travels the world and explores every hole in the ground. The other, the barely socialized mathematician and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss, does not even need to leave his home in Göttingen to prove that space is curved. Von Humboldt is known to history as the Second Columbus. Gauss is recognized as the greatest mathematical brain since Newton. Terrifyingly famous and more than eccentric in their old age, the two meet in Berlin in 1828.
About the Author
Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975. Six years later, his family moved to Vienna, where he finished school and started his studies in philosophy and German literature. In 1997, he published his first novel. He has received a number of literary awards, has held several teaching positions at universities throughout Germany, and has written essays and reviews for numerous newspapers and magazines. He currently divides his time between Berlin and Vienna.
Four of his books are available in English: Me and Kaminski, Measuring the World, Fame, and F. They were all translated by Carol Brown Janeway, so you might be interested to read what Kehlmann had to say about his translator.