by translator Alpha Bren, Foreword Writer Paul Murdin
Although over three hundred years old, Fontenelle's dialogues in a garden over five nights are still a surprisingly painless way to learn about the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars, even though new planets were later discovered and modern science has filled out many details Fontenelle could not have known. This is no lecture, but a conversation with the cut and thrust of intelligent argument as the Marchioness challenges each of the astronomer's assertions and requires him to explain the evidence.
The five successive nights deal with:
Aphra Behn's translation, one of the earliest, adds the feminine wit of a leading dramatist to Fontanelle's work.