Notes for Pages 0-9.
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Page 0: Rousseau wrote “Emile, or, Education” in 1761, seven years before the events of this story, and both the book and its author were swiftly kicked out of France, being scandalously anti-establishment. He bounced around for awhile and had a nervous breakdown or two before sneaking back in 1767.
Rousseau was rather cynical about modern society and its constraints, and harbored an admiration for the state of Nature, which was admittedly harsh but kept man nicely undiluted.
Rousseau is rather important to this story, although most of the characters have never heard of him, least of all the ones who agree with him. I should read more of his books, probably. He was a nasty little man with a wonderful mind.
And as for the Roman proverb, re-popularized by Thomas Hobbes (who held views almost opposite to Rousseau’s), well, it’s a nice counterpoint to the rationalist orgy above. And you know. Wolves.
Page 6-7:And this is just the old workroom. These are Avner’s favorites, not the ones he’s made, fixed, or selling. The fact that this is normally the quietest room in the house says something about the Levy family.
Furniture in that era tended towards the very simple when it came to the working and merchant classes—most of the decorations on the Levy furniture were done by the Levy father himself, as a means to test out various gold leaf patterns, wood tools, and so on.
Page 8-9:The University of Göttingen (nowadays, more properly called Georg-August-Universität) was only thirty years old, but was already one of the most vibrant universities in Germany. Like other universities, its two main departments were Law and Theology. Guess which one Luther was in.
Johann is in business; putting two kids through university is tough on the family salary even with patronage and scholarships.
So he’s a furniture trading merchant, an apprenticeship he wangled through his father’s business. Since he’s still a young buck in the biz, he gets to make all the trade trips, so a chance to visit home is rare and appreciated.