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Sinai Tapestry por Edward Whittemore
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Sinai Tapestry (original 1977; edição 2002)

por Edward Whittemore

Séries: Jerusalem Quartet (1)

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255780,709 (4.01)14
Sinai Tapestry, the brilliant first novel of the Jerusalem Quartet,is an epic alternate history of the Middle East in which the discovery of the original Bible links a disparate group of remarkable people across time and space. In 1840, Plantagenet Strongbow, the twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, seven-feet-seven-inches tall and the greatest swordsman and botanist of Victorian England, walks away from the family estate and disappears into the Sinai Desert carrying only a large magnifying glass and a portable sundial. He emerges forty years later as an Arab holy man and anthropologist, now the author of a massive study of Levantine sex--and the secret owner of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Skanderbeg Wallenstein has discovered the original Bible, lost on a dusty bookshelf in the monastery library. To his amazement, it defies every truth held by the three major religions. Nearly a century later, Haj Harun, an antiquities dealer who has acted as guardian of the Holy City for three thousand years, uncovers the hidden Bible. Sinai Tapestry is the first volume of the Jerusalem Quartet, which continues with Jerusalem Poker, Nile Shadows,and Jericho Mosaic.… (mais)
Membro:bryanalexander
Título:Sinai Tapestry
Autores:Edward Whittemore
Informação:Old Earth Books (2002), Paperback
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Sinai Tapestry por Edward Whittemore (1977)

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A stunning opening shot in what might be one of my favorite quartets of all time. ( )
  23Goatboy23 | Jan 17, 2020 |
My reaction to reading this novel in 2004.

"Edward Whittemore (1933-1995)", Tom Wallace -- Wallace, a former Yale classmate of Whittemore, provides a biographical essay on the author. Wallace was Whittemore's early editor and, eventually, agent. Wallace speculates that Whittemore may have been a CIA agent longer than the official ten years he was with the agency. Wallace also mentions that Whittemore's Jerusalem Quartet is a worthy combining of his great-grandparents, one who was a minister and his wife, a popular author of the time of works for "shop girls".

"Edward Whittemore's Sinai Tapestry: An Introduction", Jay Neugeboren -- A brief description and criticism of the Jerusalem Quartet with particular emphasis on this novel. I got a little impatient at hearing how great the book was and just wanted to get to reading it. Does publisher Old Earth Books feel the need to have this extended advertisement because they're reprinting a series that did terrible, in terms of sales, when it was first published?

Sinai Tapestry, Edward Whittemore -- This is a picturesque novel with nothing much at the core. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit. There's the Richard Burton like Plantagenet Strongbow who, amongst many other things, writes a huge history 33 volume work called Levantine Sex which is suppressed by the British Government. (It is described as "preposterous and true and totally unacceptable". It proposes man is a beast who, in his thinking, will never be content with simple animal pleasures and that there is no order to the universe.) There's the millennia old Haj Harun who thinks he was appointed by King Melchizedek to be Jerusalem's protector. There is Stern, Strongbow's son, who wants, in Palestine a homeland for all adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. There's Skanderberg Wallenstein who finds a bizarre Bible, the oldest ever discovered, which contradicts, in its bizarre melange, the beliefs of all three of those faiths, a Bible composed of tales told by a blind man to travelers around an oasis, tales written down by an idiot who added his own touches, a Bible hidden by Wallenstein but not destroyed -- instead he spends years in a cave forging another Bible to be found in its place. But despite all these touches and more, the novel presents a murky message and has nothing at its core. The Bible Wallenstein discovers is unexplained: do all three religions spring from it?, did it somehow anticipate them prophetically?, did its creators tap some Jungian space of archetypes? Whittemore, by the way, never really mentions any of these possibilities. But the stories of the three religions, the effects they had on the world, can't be written off as superstition. Even an atheist denying the supernatural has to believe that, at least in the case of Christianity and Islam, something dynamic and abrupt happened that shaped men's minds and became a force documented in secular history. This whole confusion of time as exemplified in the confusion of stories and figures. Whittemore does seem to know something about early versions of the Bible and their discovery and some of the parts of Wallenstein's Bible remind me of medieval tales mixing Alexander the Great ahistorically with all sorts of other figures. That confusion is mirrored, amusingly, in the occasional confusion of Harun's mind about what time he's living in. It also allows Whittemore, who spent a lot of time in Jerusalem, to drop in a lot of odd historical bits about the city. But nothing much comes of all the picturesque wonderings, via Wallenstein's Bible and Harun as well as the other characters with more traditional life histories. Stern dies in Cairo in 1942, his dream unrealized. I got the sense that a lot of the structure of the book was Whittemore leading up to what he thought would be the shocking atrocities committed by Turkish troops in Smyrna in 1922. While that part of the book was interesting in that I hadn't heard of the event before, it wasn't particularly shocking and didn't seem an adequate climax to the plot. Still, despite the plot weakness, the bizarre details and characters may keep me reading this series.

"An Editorial Relationship", Judy Karasik -- Karasik, one time lover and one time editor of Whittemore, talks about their relationship and Whittemore's last days as he died of cancer. ( )
  RandyStafford | Apr 6, 2014 |
Il n'était pas comme nous. Non. Il est devenu un hakim (= sage en arabe) sur le tard. D'abord un lettré, puis ensuite un hakim."

Ce n'est pas un livre de science-fiction. C'est un livre trans-genre. Une hypothèse ceci dit: peut-être que les lecteurs de science-fiction sont plus habitués aux OVNI littéraires et prêts à entrer dans les aventures de l'écrit les plus folles. Quelques clés pour bien décrypter cette œuvre inclassable.

* Clef n°1: Strongbow, anglais excentrique, brillant élève de Cambridge, publiant Le Sexe levantin en 33 tomes ... ça me fait penser à quelqu'un mais qui ? Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), renvoyé d'Oxford (et pourtant brillant intellectuellement), fan d'érotologie arabe et hindou (la première traduction non expurgée du Kama Sutra, c'est lui), arabisé et islamisé au point de faire le pèlerinage de La Mecque.

Ce serait trop simple que Strongbow ne renvoie qu'à Burton, Whittemore renvoie à d'autres figures célèbres du monde arabe, l'une m'est apparu à la page 87 lorsqu'il est fait allusion au soufi persan 'Attar. Tout de suite après, l'auteur compare l'oeuvre de Stongbow en 33 volumes à un hadj (cad un pélerinage) ... ça me fait penser à quelqu'un mais qui ? Ibn 'Arabi dont Les Illuminations de La Mecque est en 37 volumes et comparé à un hadj intérieur. L'épisode de Strongbow et la persane me fait penser à Majnun et Leïla (le Tristan et Iseult persan)

* Clef n°2: la Bible originaire. Evidement, l'idée de découvrir un nouveau texte d'une telle importance pourrait laisser sceptique. Cependant, on se rappelle que le 20ème siècle a été marqué par deux grandes découvertes de textes religieux: Qumran et Nag Hammadi. Que d'autres textes de nature religieuse ou philosophique se trouvent dans une grotte ou une bibliothèque privée quelque part dans le monde arabe n'est pas impossible. Le Codex du Sinaï joue à fond cette carte.

Quant à cette idée de Bible originaire, on la trouve aussi bien dans le judaïsme, le christianisme que l'islam. La kabbale distingue la torah originelle (celle d'avant l'adoration du veau d'or) et la torah actuelle. Gershom Scholem (pour prendre une référence universitaire) en parle mieux que moi dans plusieurs de ses ouvrages. Le Codex du Sinaï mentionne d'ailleurs le Zohar, grande référence de la Kabbale. L'Evangile (au singulier) est, d'après les gnostiques (appelés plus tard hérétiques par les chrétiens) différent des quatre évangiles canoniques. Quant à l'islam, il reprend à son compte l'accusation faite aux juifs et eux chrétiens d'avoir substitué une fausse torah et un faux évangile (pour les plus radicaux) ou du moins, d'avoir altéré, certains passages (ceux annoncant la venue du prophète Mahomet, qui serait en fait le nom qu'il faudrait lire derrière le "paraclet"). Texte sacré et falsification, le moyen orient est plein de ce type de spéculations.

* Clef n°3: les figures intemporelles. Il y a d'abord Melchisédech. Quand il apparaît dans la Genèse, on ne sait rien de lui (d'où vient-il ? Qui est-il ?), il est là avant Abraham. C'est une figure originaire qui précède les trois monothéismes et qui symbolise un peu le rêve de l'auteur de sortir des querelles de texte. On retrouve cette intemporalité avec le prêtre Jean (allusion au judéo-christianisme, cette fragile époque où chrétiens et juifs étaient unis ? L'Eglise de Jérusalem était dirigé par Jacques le Juste, ceci dit Jean représente le versant mystique du christianisme, le côté le plus ouvert), l'antiquaire qui est peut-être là depuis le début de Jérusalem (ne serait-ce pas Melchisédech ?). Au fond, Whittemore nous montre un Orient dont les question séculaires n'ont pas pris une ride. Les politiques européennes qui viennent tenter leur chance en Orient rajoutent un problème mais ne sont qu'une péripétie, une parenthèse face à de telles questions.

Bon, je m'arrête là. Mon intention n'est pas de toute façon de faire étalage de ma science mais surtout de montrer que ce premier livre de Whittemore est plus profond que ne le laisserait croire son anodine publication chez Ailleurs et demain (merci à Gérard Klein pour ce courage éditorial !), une collection de SF, et qu'il est écrit par quelqu'un qui connaît bien le monde oriental et qui en maîtrise les grands classiques. Là où c'est plus fort encore c'est que bien entendu, il n'y a nul besoin de connaître toutes les sources auxquelles l'auteur a puisé; l'auteur s'en est inspiré pour nous recréer un orient bien à lui et il n'y a qu'à se laisser porter. Chapeau. ( )
  vince59 | Jun 13, 2013 |
*note to self.copy from Al.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1501027.html

It's a rather pale reflection of Illuminatus! and Midnight's Children, set in and around the Holy Land (the original, not the district in South Belfast) in the early 20th century. Extra coloration of various characters' background is brought in from Cambridge University, Albania and Ireland, none of it very convincing in detail (bad luck I suppose that I know all three of those locations reasonably well). The main strand of a confused plot concerns an ancient Biblical manuscript which supposedly disproves everything in both Old and New Testaments. (*rolls eyes*) The writing is not as funny as the author obviously thinks it is. It filled out the spaces for me while travelling and that is the best I can say for it. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Aug 13, 2010 |
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Sinai Tapestry, the brilliant first novel of the Jerusalem Quartet,is an epic alternate history of the Middle East in which the discovery of the original Bible links a disparate group of remarkable people across time and space. In 1840, Plantagenet Strongbow, the twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, seven-feet-seven-inches tall and the greatest swordsman and botanist of Victorian England, walks away from the family estate and disappears into the Sinai Desert carrying only a large magnifying glass and a portable sundial. He emerges forty years later as an Arab holy man and anthropologist, now the author of a massive study of Levantine sex--and the secret owner of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Skanderbeg Wallenstein has discovered the original Bible, lost on a dusty bookshelf in the monastery library. To his amazement, it defies every truth held by the three major religions. Nearly a century later, Haj Harun, an antiquities dealer who has acted as guardian of the Holy City for three thousand years, uncovers the hidden Bible. Sinai Tapestry is the first volume of the Jerusalem Quartet, which continues with Jerusalem Poker, Nile Shadows,and Jericho Mosaic.

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