St Petersburg Manuscripts

Did you know that Émilie du Châtelet's translation of Newton's Principia remained the standard French edition of that text for the following two centuries? Find out more about our digital project on Émilie du Châtelet's unpublished manuscripts here.

This project is a cooperation between the Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists, Paderborn University (HWPS) and the National Library of Russia/Российская национальная библиотека, St. Petersburg (NLR). The aim is to realise an online edition of the Du Châtelet manuscripts preserved in the Voltaire Collection of that library (NLR/BV). Read more about the project here.

Emilie Du Châtelet and Mandeville’s Fable
Translation of Du Châtelet (by Felicia Gottmann)

Preface by the Author

Laws are to society what life is to the human body. Those who study anatomy know that bones, nerves, skin and other parts of the body which affect our senses the most and which seem most important to us, are not those which preserve our life. Instead it depends on loose lineaments of whose existence the vulgar mind remains totally ignorant. Similarly those who study the anatomy of the human mind, if we may put it that way, and who in this endeavour do not fall for the prejudices of education, know that it is not good nature, pity or other amiable qualities that render man sociable, but those vices which most incense the biliousness of preachers. That is what I have sought to develop in the following work.

 


Projet: Manuscrits de St. Pétersbourg

Ce projet est une coopération entre le Centre d’histoire des femmes philosophes et scientifiques (HWPS) à l’université de Paderborn et la Bibliothèque nationale russe/Российская национальная библиотека (BNR) à Saint-Pétersbourg. Il vise à réaliser une édition digitale des manuscrits de Du Châtelet qui sont préservés dans la Collection Voltaire de la bibliothèque. En savoir plus sur le projet ici.

Preface de l’autheur

Les loix sont à la societé, ce que la vie est au corps humain. Ceux qui connoissent l’anatomie, savent que les os, les nerfs, la peau et les autres parties du corps qui affectent le plus nos sens, et qui nous paroissent les plus considerables, ne sont pas ce qui conserve nostre vie, mais qu’elle depend de lineaments deliés dont le vulgaire ne soupçonne pas mesme l’existence.

Emilie du Chatelet’s remarks on the necessary existence of a self-creating deity in Voltaire’s Traité de métaphysique

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