Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 18

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 18

  • In the refectory, a reader recites another rendition on the Flame Deluge. This one is written in a style similar to the Book of Job.
  • Taddeo asks if that's their version of the nuclear holocaust, and Dom Paulo mentions it's one of several they have.
  • Taddeo asks when he can study the Memorabilia, and he's told that he can start right away.
  • He's excited, obviously.
  • They make their way to the library. As they enter, Brother Kornhoer turns on the arc lamp.
  • A little help from a couple of monks on treadmills—no, really—gets the electricity flowing nicely.
  • The light scares a curse out of Taddeo and causes a clerk to scream, "Fire!" (18.39)
  • Once the shock wears off, Taddeo is transfixed by the machine. He demands to know why they hide such a wonder from the world.
  • When Brother Kornhoer explains that he built the thing, Taddeo's pride takes a bit of a hit.
  • Taddeo is definitely the kind of guy who believes he's the smartest person in the room.

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