Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola

in The Contest for Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780226010540
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226010564 | DOI:
Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola

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This chapter presents Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola's translation of René Descartes's Principles of Philosophy. More than simply a translation of Descartes's work, this work is a manifesto of women's right to learn. In her preface, entitled “The Translator to the Reader,” she presents Descartes as the creator of a philosophy that celebrates the female mind. Descartes's famous dedication of his Principles of Philosophy to princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, one of his important correspondents, is the primary basis for this judgment. Her preface is simultaneously a history of women's learning, a history of philosophy, and an autobiography. She self-consciously presents herself as an heir to the seventeenth-century tradition of Cartesian women and celebrates its arrival in the city of Naples where she was one of several women known for their philosophical erudition by the early eighteenth century.

Keywords: Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola; René Descartes; Principles of Philosophy; Cartesian women

Chapter.  15151 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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