Friday, October 31, 2008

Finding out about Hypatia

As a science buff, it is embarrassing to report that prior to reading the book “Remembering Hypatia: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” I knew next to nothing about one of the true giants among females in the history of science.

Despite how impressed I was with the title character, I won’t write a very in-depth essay for this selection for The Nonbelieving Literati. It most definitely was not a great piece of literature. That said, it was mostly a page turner and I didn’t struggle with it. In fact, I immediately passed it on to my 19 year old daughter, who is now reading it. I think books like this have a place.

My daughter, typical of her generation, has never even heard the name Hypatia. I think she needs to know that "The Philosopher" existed, and the casual way our world can slide into complete darkness if we don’t defend knowledge. For someone like her, who might otherwise go through much or all of her life without finding out about Hypatia, this could be a very important work.

As for me, I’d much rather have read a good history book about her. But, as many things have been lately, it was yet another reminder to get out and vote on Tuesday!


The Ridger, FCD said...

I did know about her - and I so wanted this book to be good. But it wasn't. This period, this story, deserves a better book. As an introduction to the subject, I suppose you could do worse.

Ordinary Girl said...

I think Trent is in love with the idea of Hypatia and painted himself into the book as Thasos, which makes me dislike the book even more. But I'm probably reading too much into it.

John Evo said...

I don't know why Ex came up with this book, but I'm happy to at least learn a little more about Hypatia. She was pretty remarkable.

Evie said...

I didn't like the book very much, but I will probably read at least one non-fiction work about Hypatia. Whenever possible, I read at least two biographies of anyone. I'm not sure I'll be able to find two credible bios of Hypatia, though, so I may have to compensate by reading about Alexandria and the period in general too.