Yet the fact remains: much of the interest in Madame Curie stems from her having been a woman in the man’s world of physics and chemistry.
The interest naturally increases as women claim their place in that world; with this interest comes anger, sometimes righteous, sometimes self-righteous, that difficulties should still stand in the way.
But such distinction better suits an Aphra Behn or Artemisia Gentileschi than it does a Jane Austen or Marie Curie.
Genuine greatness deserves only the most gracious estate, not an academic ghetto, however fashionable and well-appointed.
‘It isn’t necessary to lead such an anti-natural existence as mine,’ she sometimes said to calm her overmilitant admirers.
But hadn’t Madame Curie herself done it all, and on the titanic scale that launched so many dreamers toward the most earnest fantasies, and in many cases the most heartening achievements?Her indomitable will served her voracious intelligence.But for every accomplishment, for every distinction, for every rare joy, she paid and paid.Hardship and ill fortune accompanied her all her days.There seemed to be no ordeal she could not power her way through.
Political and personal tragedies clouded Manya’s childhood and youth.