Almost a man of genius: Clémence Royer, feminism, and by Joy Harvey

By Joy Harvey

Clemence Royer was once a 19th-century Frenchwoman most likely top identified for generating the 1st French translation of Charles Darwin. in spite of the fact that, her efforts went a lot additional, encompassing anthropology, physics, philosophy, cosmology, and chemistry. during this full-scale biography, Harvey, a technology historian and previous affiliate editor of Cambridge University's Darwin Correspondence venture, strains Royer's striking lifestyles.

A feminist who made lifelong enemies nearly as quite simply as she made pals, Royer used to be by no means capable of adopt formal, complicated schooling and was once a made from her personal self-study efforts. in simple terms in her previous few years used to be she officially famous through a number of specialist societies and presented the French Legion of Honor. Harvey contains an summary of past biographical remedies, the textual content of an 1874 conversation on "Women, technological know-how, and the beginning Rate," and huge notes.

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In turn, she blamed her husband for having spent his inheritance on political adventures. They decided to leave Paris and live in his native village to save money, a decision that put a further strain on an embittered marriage. When they left for the provinces, the captain placed his daughter, now ten years old, in a convent school at Mans (Sacré-Coeur du Mans). 14 Some of Captain Royer's political friends had sent their daughters to this convent, and he may have seen this as a way of providing an entree for his daughter into the aristocratic society he so admired.

Box 5062, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903. S. copyright law. 3 As Harvey demonstrates in impressive archival and analytical detail. Royer's life is uniquely situated to illuminate the complex and shifting relationship between gender and science, especially throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, a period that witnessed major changes in the social and political organization of both science and society. Royer's life reflects the rise of female emancipation, of professional science, and of their interaction in the context of the major political changes in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Though not all of Royer's views are currently upheld in the many fields to which she contributed, her never-ceasing creativity greatly advanced the cause of female emancipation. As Harvey conveys in her restrained tone, Royer's life and work were heroic in overcoming, however imperfectly, the double standard that continues to plague creative women even today, in and out of science. It is a much-needed reminder of just how long and how much of Royer's vision remained utopian for reason of persistent gender inequality.

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