For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi.

A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi

A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Book cover, first edition
AuthorAntonella Cupillari
PublisherEdwin Mellen Press
Publication date
28 April 2008

A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Eighteenth-Century Woman Mathematician: With Translations of Some of Her Work from Italian into English is a biography of Italian mathematician and philosopher Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799). It was written and translated by Antonella Cupillari, with a foreword by Patricia R. Allaire, and published in 2008 by the Edwin Mellen Press.


The main part of the book, over 100 pages, is a translation into English of an Italian-language biography of Agnesi, Elogio storico di Donna Maria Gaetana Agnesi, which was written in the year of her death by historian Antonio Francesco Frisi and republished in 1965.[1] It covers the cultural background that allowed her to become a mathematician, and her brief mathematical career from her teens to her thirties, as well as her work caring for the needy in the remaining fifty years of her life.[2]

Frisi was a family friend of Agnesi. He was the first to write a biography about her. To balance this material with a more objective view of Agnesi,[2] Cupillari has added over 50 pages of notes,[1] derived from two more Italian-language biographies of Agnesi, Maria Gaetana Àgnesi (Luisa Anzoletti, 1900) and Maria Gaetana Agnesi (Giovanna Tilche, 1984).[3] Another large section includes translations and explanations of excerpts from Agnesi's mathematical textbook, Institutioni Analitiche (1748),[1][3] which was "the first textbook to provide a unified treatment of algebra, Cartesian geometry and calculus", and by being written in vernacular Italian rather than Latin was aimed at a wider audience than the educated scholars of her day.[2] Cupillari concludes her biography with a bibliography of material about Agnesi.[1]

Audience and reception

Reviewers Luigi Pepe and Franka Bruckler recommend the book as a "useful introduction" and "unique, comprehensive source" on Agnesi and her work, particularly for people who read English but not Italian.[1][3] Bruckler includes among its potential readers historians of mathematics, mathematics educators, and members of the public.[3] Reviewer Edith Mendez describes the book as "an easy read", and its mathematics as accessible to undergraduate mathematics students,[4] but this is contradicted by Peter Ruane, who found the "fragmented" and "eulogistic" first part difficult to follow and to stomach.[2] Mendez also criticizes the book for being inadequately copyedited,[4] and Ruane suggests that the book would have been improved by more context of what was happening in mathematics in Europe at the time.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Pepe, Luigi (2011), "Review of A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Eighteenth-Century Woman Mathematician", MathSciNet, MR 2675954
  2. ^ a b c d e Ruane, P. N. (January 2009), "Review of A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Eighteenth-Century Woman Mathematician", MAA Reviews
  3. ^ a b c d Bruckler, Franka Miriam, "Review of A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Eighteenth-Century Woman Mathematician", zbMATH, Zbl 1228.01037
  4. ^ a b Mendez, Edith Prentice (June 2008), "Review of A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, an Eighteenth-Century Woman Mathematician", Convergence
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
A Biography of Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 ๐ŸŽ‰! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?