Sónya Kovalévsky: Her Recollections of Childhood

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Page 217 - as decidedly as that two and two make four, what a monstrosity is a woman who is a professor of mathematics, and how unnecessary, injurious and out of place she is" (quoted in Mozans 1913: 163).
Page 3 - She then describes a scene in childhood, and adds: " As I reflect upon the matter now, I think I must have been two or three years old, and that the scene took place in Moscow where I was born." After the first memory she recalls "a series of detached but tolerably clear pictures" as of "picking up pebbles," and " my sister's doll which I threw out of the carriage window.
Page 279 - In this circle, so sympathetic to her feelings, Sonya became openhearted. I had never seen her so communicative, except when in private conversation. She spoke openly of her dissatisfaction with life; of her sterile triumphs in science. She said she would willingly exchange all the celebrity she had won, all the triumphs of her intellect, for the lot of the most insignificant woman who lived in her proper circle — a circle_pf which she was the center, and in which she was beloved.
Page 231 - It now seemed to her that nothing was worth living for but science. Everything else — personal happiness, love, and love of nature, daydreaming — all was vain. The search after scientific truth was now to her the highest and most desirable of things. Interchange of ideas with her intellectual peers, apart from any personal tie, was the loftiest of all intercourse. The joy of creation was upon her, and now she entered into one of those brilliant periods of hers, when she was handsome, full of...
Page 280 - She could say no more. She sat down — for she had risen in the impulse of the moment — and tried to conquer her emotion by drinking a glass of water.
Page 264 - ... which broke down her health for a time. This year (1888) was, she had long been forewarned, to bring her to the summit of success and happiness. It bore within it, also, the germ of all the sorrows and misfortunes which were to break upon her with the new year. But that Christmas, at the solemn session of the French Academy of Science, she received in person the Prix Bordin, the greatest scientific honor which any woman has ever gained ; one of the greatest honors, indeed, to which any one can...
Page 1 - Childhood," by Sonya KovaleVski. She writes: " When I begin to sort out and classify my earliest recollections, the same thing always happens with me: these recollections disperse before me. At times it seems to me that I have found the first definite impression which has left a distinct trace in my memory; but as soon as I concentrate my thought on it for a while, other impressions of a still more remote period begin to peep forth and acquire form. And the difficulty of it is that I cannot myself...
Page 149 - The pine forest stretched out on both sides of the road, dark, mysterious, impenetrable. All at once, as we entered a glade, the moon seemed to swim out from behind the forest, and flooded us with silvery light so brilliant and unexpected that we were even startled. After my explanation with my sister in Petersburg, we had not touched upon any private questions, and a sort of constraint still existed between us — some new sensation had taken possession of us.
Page 149 - After my explanation with my sister in Petersburg, we had not touched upon any private questions, and a sort of constraint still existed between us — some new sensation had taken possession of us. But at that moment, as if by mutual agreement, we pressed close to each other, exchanged an embrace, and felt that there was no longer any foreign element interposed between us, and that we were near to each other, as in the past. A feeling of reckless, unbounded joy in life overpowered us both. Heavens...
Page 314 - I have been unable to decide for which I had the greater inclination, mathematics or literature. As soon as my brain grows wearied of purely abstract speculations it immediately begins to incline to observations on life, to narrative ; and, vice versa, everything in life begins to appear insignificant and uninteresting, and only the eternal, immutable laws of science attract me. It is very possible that I might have accomplished more in either of these lines if I had devoted myself exclusively to...

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