IMAGE & POEM (NOVEMBER 2008)

About In The voice of Émilie Du Chatelet (1706-1749)

Marie-France's painting induced me to think of classic French women from the 18th century who defied tradition and the stereotypes of their time. The woman, in particular, who came to mind was Emilie Du Chatelet. Known for her eloquent understanding of math and physics, she presented a vulnerable figure who strived to be accepted among her masculine peers( which included such luminaries as Voltaire and Newton), and still accommodate her role as wife and mother. This poem is written in the personal voice of Emilie after death. This surrealistic quality allows the reader to see how she viewed her place in life and what revelations she made about its significance when passing from the earth. Marie-France's portrait of a lady who exudes noble grace while also showing an expression of passionate intensity, complements this dialog with a face that is beautifully drawn and compelling. It has allowed me to verbally define her inner beauty and sense of self worth as she concludes that although her name may always dwell in the shadow of a man's name, her mind walked on the horizon of ideas.
© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.