Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Robyn Arianrhod's "Seduced by Logic," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Seduced by Logic: Émilie Du Châtelet, Mary Somerville and the Newtonian Revolution by Robyn Arianrhod.

The entry begins:
Seduced by Logic blends biography, history and science in a story that covers two centuries of scientific history. So I guess there are two movies here, one for each of the book’s two heroines: Émilie, marquise du Châtelet, the wonderfully outrageous French aristocrat, mathematician, and muse/lover of Voltaire; and Mary Somerville, a shy, illiterate, Scottish country girl who transformed herself into the nineteenth century’s celebrated ‘Queen of Science’.

At first, I found it surprisingly difficult to imagine ‘strangers’ playing these women onscreen, because Émilie and Mary were so multifaceted that they are uniquely ‘themselves’ to me: I’ve ‘lived’ with them, in my mind, for years, and I feel I know them intimately, through their own writings, and through my empathy with them as a female mathematician myself. But I do love movies – and films are, of course, things in themselves, separate from books, and from real lives – so here are some tentative thoughts on how ‘my’ Émilie and Mary could appear (or have appeared) on the big screen.

Jeanne Moreau could be fabulously feisty, seductive, and intense, all in that very French way. She could have portrayed, effortlessly, Émilie’s mix of imperious aristocratic confidence and fun-loving radiance, her ability to be self-contained, disciplined, and ambitious, and, by contrast, her ability to abandon herself to the moment – singing operas all night long, or staking everything for love. A more contemporary actress, and a very different one, is...[read on]
Learn more about Seduced by Logic at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Seduced by Logic.

My Book, The Movie: Seduced by Logic.

--Marshal Zeringue