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Elisabeth of Bohemia, Shapiro, Lisa (ed.). The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Rene Descartes
2007, University of Chicago Press.
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Added by: Alison Stone
Publisher's Note: Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period

Comment: This book contains the complete exchange of letters between Descartes and Princess Elisabeth. It can be used as further or supplementary reading on Descartes in a history of modern philosophy course; for example, if there was a week on Elisabeth's questions to Descartes about mind and body, this could be assigned as further reading for students wanting to go into more depth.

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