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Figuring Reviews

Figuring by Maria Popova


Maria Popova

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: Canongate Books Ltd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 7 Feb 2019
ISBN: 9781786897244

A history of women who have changed our understanding of the universe, from the creator of Brain Pickings

4 stars out of 5
PD Smith
7 Feb 2020

"To read Figuring is to be immersed in a gloriously ambitious symphony of ideas "

At a time filled with urgent questions about identity, sexuality and the environment, she brings together science, poetry, philosophy and gender politics to find answers. As Virginia Woolf realised, the solution lies in the connectedness of everything: “the whole world is a work of art … we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself”. At more than 500 pages, Figuring is perhaps overlong: but as Popova notes at the end, this is the distillation of a lifetime’s reading on science, the arts and biography. As Melville said, “it is hard to be finite upon an infinite subject”.


4 stars out of 5
9 Mar 2019

"themes and motifs return as in music with renewed beauty and meaning"

[T]his indefinable book often reads like the poetry which means so much to Popova’s heroes while themes and motifs return as in music with renewed beauty and meaning...a heart-breaking recurrent theme that runs throughout Figuring – the difficulties that women encounter over and over again. They are not believed, accepted or valued, yet they will not be silenced...Although it is impossible to cover the multiplicity of the themes and stories here, love is a central theme, particularly the love of women for other women. Many of these trailblazers are gay and/or unconventional in their relationships.