Madame Curie Essay - Critical Essays

Eve Curie


Written through the eyes of a loving daughter, Eve Curie’s biography of her mother portrays a woman completely dedicated to her profession. Unlike the bittersweet portrayals frequently offered by the offspring of celebrities, that of Madame Curie is essentially a love story.

As stated in the introduction, the author’s mother was thirty-seven years old when Eve was born. Eve Curie was two when her father was killed, and by the time that she was old enough to know her mother well, Madame Curie had already passed middle age. The daughter was never really to know much of her mother’s life. Much of the book becomes a resurrection of past events, based in part on intimate details provided by Madame Curie and in part on letters that survived the passage of years. The rest, including dialogue, is the story as it may have unfolded.

Madame Curie, as an individual, remains an inspiration to anyone striving against the odds. She was first and foremost a Polish nationalist. France was her adopted country, but Poland remained her home. Fortunately, Curie lived to see her native land again become independent, following the war in 1918. She is valiantly portrayed in the battle for equal rights for both sexes. Despite the reluctance of the male-dominated faculty of the Sorbonne, she would eventually become the head of her own laboratory. Ironically, she was never admitted to the French Académie des Sciences. She missed by two votes in 1911, and no vote was ever again attempted.

Curie’s life is portrayed in two parts. As a scientist, she matured under the tutelage of Pierre Curie. Eight years older than she, Pierre brought...

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