Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Techno Logy

Lawrence Weschler, Author Pantheon Books $21 (163p) ISBN 978-0-679-43998-1
As in previous books such as Shapinsky's Karma, Boggs's Bills and Other True-Life Tales, Weschler, a staff writer for the New Yorker, explores with detail and delight some knotty questions of culture and trickery. The first half of the book is an expanded version of an article he wrote for Harper's and ruminates about the little-known Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, querying its elfin, straight-faced founder/proprietor, David Wilson, and tracking the detailed yet mainly bogus tales behind Wilson's elaborate sham artifacts. Such adventures lead Weschler to muse on the nature of museums and of wonder, and, in the book's second half, to recount the further investigations spurred by readers' letters. The impulse to inventory oddities, he observes, dates back to Europeans' wonderment at the New World. Wilson, he concludes, has tapped ``into the premodern wellsprings of the postmodern temper.'' Slight, but memorable. Illustrations. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-679-76489-2
Open Ebook - 101 pages - 978-0-307-83398-3
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