The passions of Émilie

Silvana Bartoli


A woman who loved to study, physics in particular, and nurtured the ambition of autonomy. If the eighteenth century is traditionally considered a century of stability, obviously excluding the last twenty years, Émilie du Châtelet carries out a personal revolution by transgressing the principles of "bienséances" that prescribed ignorance, obedience and devotion for women.
Madame instead presents herself as a multifaceted personality: cultured, unwilling to bow her dead, intolerant of dogmas, often distracted by good manners. But the desire for autonomy did not teach her to get rid of love, on the contrary the need to feel loved led to her premature death.


female ambition; female autonomy; women and science; Émilie du Châtelet; Voltaire

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/10665


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