Meredith K. RayMar 13, 2017
Margherita Sarrocchi's Letters to Galileo
Astronomy, Astrology, and Poetics in 17th-Century Italy
Meredith K. Ray's new book contextualizes and translates a range of seventeenth-century letters, mostly between Margherita Sarrocchi (1560-1617) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), that collectively offer a fascinating window into the correspondence of two brilliant early modern writers and intellectuals. Margherita Sarrocchi's Letters to Galileo: Astronomy, Astrology, and Poetics in Seventeenth-Century Italy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) traces the relationship between Sarrocchi, a Naples-born writer, famous for her salons and for writing an epic poem that emphasized the significance of women as knowers of the natural world, with Galileo. The letters feature three major themes: Sarrocchi consulting Galileo for writerly advice as she revised her epic poem, Sarrocchi's efforts to defend Galileo's discoveries to the scientific community in Italy, and Sarrocchi and Galileo's shared interest in judicial astrology and natal charts or nativities. The slim volume will be a resource not just for readers and researchers but also for classroom discussion, where the letters could serve as great primary sources to feature in a number of course contexts. Enjoy!