Deriving Architecture from Anathem — Collecting Quotes

Posted on 2015-10-03 by fp
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Within a recent article, I mentioned the Great Clock from a book titled Anathem in a description about winding the clock in a church’s bell tower. This might have struck you — the reader — as a small hint towards my fascination with this story. And, true enough, I have even been involved in a small circle of people gathering to discuss this book chapter by chapter. Of all the fascinating topics covered in the book, I chose the architecture as my special field.

My objective was to derive the structure and details of the Mynster that contains the main part of the [Great Clock]. As far as I know Neal Stephenson only provided describing text, and no imagery of the building. That is quite all right for an author if the description fits into the story, which in this case it does quite much. Nevertheless, I wanted to see whether the description is sufficient to actually build a model of the building.

At first I tried to gather all pieces of text that might contribute to a model. These comprise six pages of handwritten notes in my notebook. I added a few more pages using my lack of talent for drawing to draw scetches of the thing and then moved into another city, lost contact to the people with whom I shared that affection and somewhat stopped working on it. But that essentially is why I am creating notes.

As my fascination for the avout lifestyle and the Consent of Saunt Edhar seems to be alive until today, I think it is time to publish the few things I have. Here they are: text passages from Anathem 1st edition, hardcover, published by Harper Collins.

The following is the awfully long list. I strove for completeness, but obviously cannot guarantee it. I will come back to this topic later on and provide a few conclusions derived from the excerpts and — of course — my scetches of the building.

Quotes on the Architecture of the Great Clock


In Chapter 3 Fraa Erasmas has the “opportunity” to “visit” the Praesidium having “earned” a few chapters in The Book. He is restricted to a single cell but secretly leaves his cell at one time, which provides us with a better description of the whole building.