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2019-11-06 08:41:07
[NEWTON, Sir Isaac] DU CHÂTELET, Gabrielle-Émilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise.
Principes Mathématiques de la Philosophie Naturelle, par feue Madame la Marquise du Chastellet.
Paris: Desaint & Saillant; Lambert, 1759. First edition. First edition in French of Newton's Principia, "the greatest work in the history of science" (PMM), translated by Voltaire's mistress, Madame du Châtelet, with the assistance of Alexis-Claude Clairaut. Begun in 1745 but published posthumously, this is her most important work. It was the first translation into a language other than English and is "still the only French translation ever made ... The first volume contains, in addition to Books I and II [of Principia], a 'preface historique' and a poem by Voltaire. The second volume contains Book III and, separately paginated, 'Exposition abrégée du système du monde, et explication des principaux phénomenes astronomiques tirée des Principes de M. Newton' (pp. 1-116). This was supplied by Clairaut. There was also 'Solution analytique des principaux problèmes qui concernent le système du monde' (pp. 117-286)" (Gjertsen, Newton Handbook, p. 480). Voltaire's 'preface historique' is partly an extravagant Éloge of his late mistress but also a survey of Newton's philosophical position and the problems of translation. "Known throughout intellectual Europe as Émilie, the name popularized by Voltaire, Mme. du Châtelet--beyond the influence that she had for some fifteen years on the orientation of Voltaire's work and on his public activity--contributed to the vitality of French scientific life and to the parallel diffusion of Newtonianism and Leibnizian epistemology. Her affairs entertained the fashionable world of her period, yet her last moments revealed the sincerity of her scien … [Click Below for Full Description]
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