Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 14

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 14

  • The basement/library is all a-ruckus with novices working to finish Brother Kornhoer's machine.
  • Brother Armbruster sulks (piously, we guess) in the corner.
  • Dom Paulo questions Brother Kornhoer about the machine, and he states his light will be the most important improvement to the abbey since they went and got themselves a printing press.
  • Well, someone's got an Edison Complex going on.
  • He then gives the abbot a tour of the arc lamp, praising Thon Taddeo for helping Brother Kornhoer piece together the information he needed to get it working.
  • Dom Paulo asks where the bulb will be hung, and hits the problem on the head.
  • Kornhoer wants to hang it in a special place to act as Taddeo's work station, but Armbruster says he can read in the lectern like everybody else.
  • They eventually decide on the alcove, but that means removing the crucifix from the wall.
  • Armbruster goes straight-up Exorcist on that idea.
  • Dom Paulo reminds Armbruster that the library is not a church, so religious icons are optional.
  • He orders the crucifix taken down… for a time.
  • Gulp.
  • The next day, Dom Paulo remains in his study during the test, nursing his hemorrhaging stomach. He tastes the blood in his mouth before passing out.
  • Gault finds him slumped over his desk and revives him. There sure is a lot of passing out and reviving in this book.
  • Gault wants to get the medic, but Dom Paulo tells him to sit down.
  • He's all, "I'm just bleeding a little internally, no biggie."
  • Gault informs the abbot that the test of the arc lamp was a success.