31 October, 2020

Galileo's Cosmos

The life and times of Galileo, but not, alas, the big picture

Galileo's Cosmos
It's a labour of love. However, Dava Sobel-who proved she was an accomplished science writer a few years ago with Longitude-fails to escape the blindness that often accompanies love.

Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith and Love is a representative tome of our times. It brims with poignant details about the life, times and work of the revolutionary 17th century Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei. But too often, the book's ideological context is obscured by the 'beauty' of the reconstruction.

Though Sobel borrows astutely from the new approach of history-writing by amplifying a supposedly marginal presence in his life of ideas-his daughter Suor Maria Celeste's letters-the book fails to offer startlingly unique insights into Galileo's mind. Despite its jargon-shorn, lucid and powerful prose, Sobel repeats the same naive myt-hification of Galileo that has become the norm ever since the 'Age of Reason' became an accepted reality in the Continent.

By digging into letters written by his daughter-a nun in the Order of Saint Clare in a...



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