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Figuring / Maria Popova.

Popova, Maria, author. (Author).
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Available copies

  • 2 of 3 copies available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 2 of 3 copies available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

0 current holds with 3 total copies.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Fosston Public Library 305.435 POP (Text) 33500013004940 New Available -
Moorhead Public Library 305.435 POP (Text) 33500013004932 New Available -
Moorhead Public Library 305.435 POP (Text) 33500013004957 New Checked out 09/19/2019

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781524748135
  • ISBN: 1524748137
  • ISBN: 9781786897244
  • ISBN: 1786897245
  • Physical Description: x, 578 pages ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2019]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages [549]-552) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Only the dreamer wakes -- To find dismooned among the stardust -- What is lost and what is gained -- Of the infinite in the finite -- To figure and transfigure -- The much that calls for more -- To brave the light of the world -- That which exhausts and exalts -- Merely the beautiful -- Divided, indivisible -- Between sinew and spirit -- Between art and life -- The banality of survival -- Shadowing the light of immortality -- To gaze and turn away -- From romance to reason -- From terror to transcendence -- Unmastering -- The heart's circumference -- Bound by neither mind nor matter -- In the darkness of being -- Searching for totality -- Into the unfathomed -- Where splendor dwells -- To live and to vanish -- Between the scale of atoms and the scale of worlds -- Between the time of monarchs and the time of stars -- Tracing the thread of being -- From shoreless seeds to stardust.
Summary, etc.: Figuring explores the complexities of love and the human search for truth and meaning through the interconnected lives of several historical figures across four centuries--beginning with the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, and ending with the marine biologist and author Rachel Carson, who catalyzed the environmental movement. Stretching between these figures is a cast of artists, writers, and scientists--mostly women, mostly queer--whose public contribution have risen out of their unclassifiable and often heartbreaking private relationships to change the way we understand, experience, and appreciate the universe. Among them are the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Emanating from these lives are larger questions about the measure of a good life and what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world: Are achievement and acclaim enough for happiness? Is genius? Is love? Weaving through the narrative is a set of peripheral figures--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman--and a tapestry of themes spanning music, feminism, the history of science, the rise and decline of religion, and how the intersection of astronomy, poetry, and Transcendentalist philosophy fomented the environmental movement.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2019 February #1
    *Starred Review* The ever-curious thinker behind the celebrated website Brain Pickings, Popova brings her hunger for facts and zeal for biography to this exhilarating and omnivorous inquiry into the lives of geniuses who "bridged the scientific and poetic." At the start of this passionate and erudite pursuit of truth and beauty, Popova describes the strange sight of a small red leaf twirling in midair, a gravity-defying mystery solved when she discerns the fine-spun spider's web holding it aloft. This image cues the reader to the structure of this many-threaded net connecting such barrier-breakers as the brilliant astronomer Maria Mitchell; radical writers Margaret Fuller, Emily Dickinson, and Rachel Carson; and the too-little-known sculptor Harriet Hosmer, most of them "women-loving women." Popova presents uniquely discerning and strikingly candid interpretations of her subjects' writings, private and published, and profiles their family, lovers, and peers, including Mary Somerville, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ada Lovelace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Sand, Frederick Douglass, Florence Nightingale, and Lise Meitner, among many others. Popova also chronicles sustaining same-sex relationships and the furors her subjects ignited, traces hidden strands of influence, and recalibrates the underappreciated impact women have had on culture and science. Writing with an ardor for language and musing on chance, affinity, and our fear of change, Popova constructs an intricate biographical cosmos that is intellectually scintillating, artistically wondrous, and deeply affecting. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

MARIA POPOVA is a reader and a writer, and writes about what she reads on Brain Pickings (, which is included in the Library of Congress's permanent digital archive of culturally valuable materials. She hosts The Universe in Versean annual celebration of science through poetry—at the interdisciplinary cultural center Pioneer Works in Brooklyn. She grew up in Bulgaria immersed in music and mathematics.

Subject: Women in science > History.
Women and the arts > History.
Women and the arts.
Women in science.
Women and the arts > History.
Women in science > History.
HISTORY / Women.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies.
Genre: Nonfiction.

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