Introduction to Émilie du Châtelet, La Favola delle api, Elena Muceni (ed.) Marietti, Bologna, 2020. Increased and updated French version
Keywords:Émilie du Châtelet, La Fable des abeilles, Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, Italian version
Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749), encouraged by various intellectuals and by Voltaire, whose lover and companion she was, to abandon the frivolous world of the Parisian aristocracy to embrace literature and scientific studies, is considered the woman of the Enlightenment for excellence. His La Fable des abeilles, an unfinished and unpublished attempt to adapt Mandeville’s The Fable of the Bees, preserved as a manuscript in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg, is the oldest of the writings that have come down to us. Born as a translation project, the text includes several entirely original sections, in particular the comments and a long preface, in which Émilie du Châtelet draws attention to the condition of women in the eighteenth century and the exclusion of women from philosophical and scientific education. The volume proposes the first critical edition of the French manuscript and the first complete Italian version.
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