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Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie Du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, Seditious Verse.....

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Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie Du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, Seditious Verse..... Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


It was 1733 when the poet and philosopher Voltaire met Emilie du Chatelet, a beguiling (and married) aristocrat who would one day popularize Newton's arcane ideas and pave the way for Einstein's theories. In an era when women were rarely permitted any serious schooling, this twenty-seven-year-old's nimble conversation and unusual brilliance led Voltaire, then in his late thirties, to wonder, Why did you only reach me so late? They fell immediately and passionately in love.

Through the prism of their tumultuous fifteen-year relationship we see the crumbling of an ancient social order and the birth of the Enlightenment. Together the two lovers rebuilt a dilapidated and isolated rural chateau at Cirey where they conducted scientific experiments, entertained many of the leading thinkers of the burgeoning scientific revolution, and developed radical ideas about the monarchy, the nature of free will, the subordination of women, and the separation of church and state.

But their time together was filled with far more than reading and intellectual conversation. There were frantic gallopings across France, sword fights in front of besieged German fortresses, and a deadly burning of Voltaire's books by the public executioner at the base of the grand stairwell of the Palais de Justice in Paris. The pair survived court intrigues at Versailles, narrow escapes from agents of the king, a covert mission to the idyllic lakeside retreat of Frederick the Great of Prussia, forays to the royal gambling tables (where Emilie put her mathematical acumen to lucrative use), and intense affairs that bent but did not break their bond.

Along with its riveting portrait of Voltaire as a vulnerableromantic, Passionate Minds at last does justice to the supremely unconventional life and remarkable achievements of Emilie du Chatelet, including her work on the science of fire and the nature of light. Long overlooked, her story tells us much about women's lives at the time of the Enlightenment. Equally important, it demonstrates how this graceful, quick-witted, and attractive woman worked out the concepts that would lead directly to the squared part of Einstein's revolutionary equation: E=mc2.

Based on a rich array of personal letters, as well as writings from houseguests, neighbors, scientists, and even police reports, Passionate Minds is both panoramic and intimate in feeling. It is an unforgettable love story and a vivid rendering of the birth of modern ideas.

Synopsis:

Bodanis takes readers to the heart of the Enlightenment through the story of the affair between the politically daring writer Voltaire and Emilie du Chatelet, one of the most gifted scientists of the 18th century.

Synopsis:

It was 1733 when the poet and philosopher Voltaire met Emilie du Châtelet, a beguilingand marriedaristocrat who would one day popularize Newtons arcane ideas and pave the way for Einsteins theories. In an era when women were rarely permitted any serious schooling, this twenty-seven-year-olds nimble conversation and unusual brilliance led Voltaire, then in his late thirties, to wonder, “Why did you only reach me so late?” They fell immediately and passionately in love.

Through the prism of their tumultuous fifteen-year relationship we see the crumbling of an ancient social order and the birth of the Enlightenment. Together the two lovers rebuilt a dilapidated and isolated rural chateau at Cirey where they conducted scientific experiments, entertained many of the leading thinkers of the burgeoning scientific revolution, and developed radical ideas about the monarchy, the nature of free will, the subordination of women, and the separation of church and state.

But their time together was filled with far more than reading and intellectual conversation. There were frantic gallopings across France, sword fights in front of besieged German fortresses, and a deadly burning of Voltaires books by the public executioner at the base of the grand stairwell of the Palais de Justice in Paris. The pair survived court intrigues at Versailles, narrow escapes from agents of the king, a covert mission to the idyllic lakeside retreat of Frederick the Great of Prussia, forays to the royal gambling tables (where Emilie put her mathematical acumen to lucrative use), and intense affairs that bent but did not break their bond.

Along with its riveting portrait of Voltaire as a vulnerable romantic, Passionate Minds at last does justice to the supremely unconventional life and remarkable achievements of Emilie du Châteletincluding her work on the science of fire and the nature of light. Long overlooked, her story tells us much about womens lives at the time of the Enlightenment. Equally important, it demonstrates how this graceful, quick-witted, and attractive woman worked out the concepts that would lead directly to the “squared” part of Einsteins revolutionary equation: E=mc2.

Based on a rich array of personal letters, as well as writings from houseguests, neighbors, scientists, and even police reports, Passionate Minds is both panoramic and intimate in feeling. It is an unforgettable love story and a vivid rendering of the birth of modern ideas.

About the Author

DAVID BODANIS taught a survey of intellectual history at the University of Oxford for many years and is the author of several books, including Electric Universe, The Secret House, and the bestselling E=mc2. Originally from Chicago, Bodanis lived in France for a decade and currently lives in London, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307237200
Author:
Bodanis, David
Publisher:
Crown
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Scientists
Subject:
Authors, french
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Series Volume:
The Great Love Affai
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.44x6.46x1.25 in. 1.43 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » France » 18th Century and Revolutionary
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment, Featuring the Scientist Emilie Du Chatelet, the Poet Voltaire, Sword Fights, Book Burnings, Assorted Kings, Seditious Verse..... Used Hardcover
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Product details 384 pages Crown Publishers - English 9780307237200 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Bodanis takes readers to the heart of the Enlightenment through the story of the affair between the politically daring writer Voltaire and Emilie du Chatelet, one of the most gifted scientists of the 18th century.
"Synopsis" by , It was 1733 when the poet and philosopher Voltaire met Emilie du Châtelet, a beguilingand marriedaristocrat who would one day popularize Newtons arcane ideas and pave the way for Einsteins theories. In an era when women were rarely permitted any serious schooling, this twenty-seven-year-olds nimble conversation and unusual brilliance led Voltaire, then in his late thirties, to wonder, “Why did you only reach me so late?” They fell immediately and passionately in love.

Through the prism of their tumultuous fifteen-year relationship we see the crumbling of an ancient social order and the birth of the Enlightenment. Together the two lovers rebuilt a dilapidated and isolated rural chateau at Cirey where they conducted scientific experiments, entertained many of the leading thinkers of the burgeoning scientific revolution, and developed radical ideas about the monarchy, the nature of free will, the subordination of women, and the separation of church and state.

But their time together was filled with far more than reading and intellectual conversation. There were frantic gallopings across France, sword fights in front of besieged German fortresses, and a deadly burning of Voltaires books by the public executioner at the base of the grand stairwell of the Palais de Justice in Paris. The pair survived court intrigues at Versailles, narrow escapes from agents of the king, a covert mission to the idyllic lakeside retreat of Frederick the Great of Prussia, forays to the royal gambling tables (where Emilie put her mathematical acumen to lucrative use), and intense affairs that bent but did not break their bond.

Along with its riveting portrait of Voltaire as a vulnerable romantic, Passionate Minds at last does justice to the supremely unconventional life and remarkable achievements of Emilie du Châteletincluding her work on the science of fire and the nature of light. Long overlooked, her story tells us much about womens lives at the time of the Enlightenment. Equally important, it demonstrates how this graceful, quick-witted, and attractive woman worked out the concepts that would lead directly to the “squared” part of Einsteins revolutionary equation: E=mc2.

Based on a rich array of personal letters, as well as writings from houseguests, neighbors, scientists, and even police reports, Passionate Minds is both panoramic and intimate in feeling. It is an unforgettable love story and a vivid rendering of the birth of modern ideas.

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