Deutsch Magyar

Another important element of Kempelen’s legend is what now seems a mind-boggling range of his activities. His knowledge of mechanics, canalization or mining was on a par with that of the leading scientists of his age, while he was writing drama and poet­ry, and was elected member of the Austrian Academy of Arts. His age may well have been the last to breed polyhistors, and the term certainly seems to cover in him what is not covered by the “genius of mechanics” or the “magician.” During the past two centuries, his character, like that of many of his illustrious contemporaries (in the middle of history), suffered from simplification and the squeeze of inflexible categories, thanks to which his image now lacks dimen­sions.