Letters to Father
Suor Maria Celeste to Galileo, 1623-1633
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The 124 letters span only a decade of Maria Celeste's 33 years. In that dramatic period, a pope came to power who battled the Protestant Reformation; the Thirty Years' War embroiled all of Europe; the bubonic plague erupted across Italy; and a new philosophy of science, promulgated most forcefully by Galileo himself, threatened to overturn the order of the universe. Maria Celeste's evocative, beautifully written letters touch on all of these situations, but they dwell in the small details of everyday life; and though Galileo's letters to her have not survived, it is clear from hers that he answered every one. Especially for those who have read Ms. Sobel's Galileo's Daughter, but even for those who haven't, Maria Celeste's letters provide an indelible chronicle of convent life in the early 17th century, a memorable portrait of deep affection between a famous father and his daughter, and fascinating insight into Galileo himself.
- Bloomsbury Publishing, May 2009
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