…”Voltaire in Love,” by Nancy Mitford. It’s a neat little book, a history that’s not a history, a bio that’s not a bio, a romance that’s not a romance. Maybe it’s a novel. Certainly it’s a work of art. It has humor and intelligence and perspective and courage. It’s a picture of artists and royalty in 17th century France, with excursions into German and Polish courts, as wecourse freshman yearll. It has lovers and mistresses and literary feuds galore. The character who grabbed me the most was the previously-unknown-to-me Mme du Chatelet, who was unaccountably omitted from my History of Western Civilization, though, while carrying on several affairs, and gambling away Louis upon Louis, she also translated Newtonian physics into French, upsetting Descartes’s apples.