Historical Context

The Sorbonne
Spanning two centuries, the Curie family was affiliated with the Sorbonne, a college of the University of Paris....

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Madame Curie Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Eve Curie’s Madame Curie: A Biography describes the life of her mother, a woman who faced a constant uphill struggle against odds that most people would find overwhelming. The Poland into which Marie Skodowska was born, in 1867, existed only in the mind of her patriots. In the closing decades of the eighteenth century, the nation of Poland was absorbed into its neighbors, chiefly Russia, and had ceased to exist. Yet the dream of nationhood did not die. The underlying theme of Curie’s discoveries, in addition to the betterment of humankind, became a contribution to the intellectual life of Poland.

Madame Curie is divided into twenty-seven chapters, arranged in three major parts. Curie initially chronicles her mother’s childhood and early schooling. Marie Curie was the youngest of five children born to Vladislav Skodowska, a physics teacher in Warsaw. She dealt early with tragedy, as first her sister and then her mother died before Curie was twelve years old. Forced from his job by an autocratic system, her father had to struggle to rear the family. From necessity, Curie spent six years as a governess, learning science in her spare time from books.

The narrative then passes into her years of success. Curie’s life brought her to Paris, where she entered the Sorbonne and earned degrees both in physics and in mathematics. It is also there that she met and married Pierre Curie. Through letters, the reader follows their...

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Madame Curie Setting

The biography begins with Marie Curie's birth in 1867, in Warsaw. Poland has been dominated by the Russian Empire for over one hundred years,...

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Madame Curie Literary Style

Genre: Biography of a Great Woman in History
Madame Curie is written in the genre (or literary category) of biography. It...

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Madame Curie Literary Qualities

A carefully researched, factually exact biography, Madame Curie portrays the warmth of a daughter's love and respect for her mother....

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Madame Curie Social Sensitivity

Madame Curie exhibits a degree of national prejudice. Marie's childhood experiences lead her to distrust and despise Russia, a hatred...

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Madame Curie Compare and Contrast

1867: Marie Curie is born in Warsaw, Vistula Land (Poland).

1870: A massive migration of Poles to the United States...

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Madame Curie Topics for Discussion

1. What is Marie's opinion of responsibility and loyalty to one's family? How does her life affirm or disaffirm that conviction?

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Madame Curie Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Eve says that even as a child Marie "learned that life was cruel," and that her life might be described as a series of battles. What are...

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Madame Curie Topics for Further Study

Increasingly throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, radiation has been used for medical purposes. Four...

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Madame Curie Related Titles / Adaptations

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a motion picture version of Madame Curie in 1943. Produced by Sidney Franklin, directed by Mervyn LeRoy,...

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Madame Curie Media Adaptations

Madame Curie was adapted to the screen in a 1943 production by M.G.M. studios, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Greer Garson as...

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Madame Curie What Do I Read Next?

Pierre Curie (1923) is a biography by Marie Curie of her husband, partner in scientific experimentation and discovery, and co-winner...

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Madame Curie For Further Reference

Giroud, Francoise. Marie Curie: A Life. Translated by Lydia Davis. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986. This biography was originally...

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Madame Curie Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Heilbrun, Carolyn G., Writing a Woman’s Life, Ballantine Books, 1988.

Quinn, Susan, Marie Curie:...

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