Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Adele egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Black Friday Deals Shop Now HTL
Letters to Father: Suor Maria Celeste to Galileo, 1623-1633 and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided with every order. Slight wear on edges and covers; otherwise item is in very good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Letters to Father : Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, 1623-1633 Hardcover – November 1, 2001

6 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$4.98 $0.41

Dear Mr. You by Mary -Louise Parker
"Dear Mr. You" by Mary-Louise Parker
Explore this featured new release in Actors & Entertainers. Learn more | See related books

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Suor Maria Celeste's story is well known to readers of Sobel's bestselling Galileo's Daughter. At 13, she boarded as a student at the Convent of San Matteo, near Florence, Italy; three years later she professed her vows. During her two decades with the Franciscan order known as the Poor Clares, Suor Maria Celeste and her sisters prayed constantly for the well-being of the world's souls (among other things, asking God to rid Florence of the bubonic plague), and Suor Maria Celeste maintained a close correspondence with her father during those years (124 letters are offered here both in the original Italian and in translation). Suor Maria Celeste urged her "`Most Illustrious Lord Father'" to guard his health, encouraged his work, and asked him for favors, such as food and wine, and, one time, for funds that would allow her to purchase a private cell within the convent. In an early letter, she promised to write him daily, read his letters eagerly and think of him always. Once, she described the indiscreet behavior of some confessors "who fraternize" with several nuns. She reproved Galileo for not writing her often enough; in fact, none of his letters to her now exist. Suor Maria Celeste mentions Galileo's heresy charge and imprisonment only once in these letters. However, while the letters are models of fervent filial devotion and shed some light on the daily life of a convent, they reveal little about the milieu in which they were written or their addressee. (Nov. Forecast: These letters may have been eagerly awaited by Sobel's readers, but the book's high price (the attractive design pads the book out with wide margins), may dissuade some buyers. Both Sobel and Walker will donate all profits from the book to the Poor Clares in Roswell, N.Mex.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Collected and translated by the author of Galileo's Daughter, this book offers 124 letters to Galileo from his older, illegitimate daughter Virginia (later Suor Maria Celeste), documenting her life from the time she entered the Convent of San Matteo in 1613 at the age of 13 with her sister Livia. The hardship of their living conditions with the Poor Clares and resultant poor health is obvious from the earliest letters and continues throughout but is accepted almost matter-of-factly. Occasionally, when conditions deteriorate too drastically or when a sick sister would benefit from something "special," Maria Celeste would ask her father for assistance. The references to the plague that swept the area in the 1630s and her father's trial for heresy are touched on gently and sometimes indirectly but certainly indicate that Maria Celeste knew what was happening in the "outside" world. Maria Celeste died in 1634, shortly after Galileo's release, and the letters conclude before his return. Both the original Italian and English translation with annotations are included. The book will appeal to the general reader, particularly those who enjoyed Sobel's previous book. Recommended. Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books; First Edition edition (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802713874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802713872
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,288,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 6 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W. M. Robbins on July 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Virginia Galilei entered the Convent of San Mateo near Florence at the age of thirteen, taking the name Maria Celeste. From then on Suor Maria rarely saw her father, though she wrote to him nearly every day. Although the letters Galileo wrote to his daughter do not survive, he kept the letters he received from Suor Maria, hence this volume. "Letters to Father" is a collection of 124 of her letters spanning the years 1623 to 1633, translated into English by best-selling author Dava Sobel ("Galileo's Daughter") and printed alongside the original Italian.

The period in history during which Suor Maria wrote these letters witnessed the occurence of such events as The Thirty Years War, the outbreak of the Black Plague, the election of a new Pope and, last but certainly not least, the arrest and trial of Galileo for heresy. Suor Maria, though cloistered in a convent, exhibits considerable knowledge of current events of the day through her commentary contained in her letters.

Sour Maria's letters also illustrate the loving relationship she shared with her father (apparently Galileo had a great love for candied fruits, which Suor Maria cheerfully made for him), as well as details of her day to day management of his estate while he was being held by church authorities, such as maintenance of the house, decanting casks of wine in the cellar (lower quality wine was given to the servants, who presumably wouldn't know better), etc.

Suor Maria's letters provide insights into Galileo's private life as well as the important events of the day. In reading these letters I felt as though I were getting to know Suor Maria, and I found the experience to be fascinating and sometimes moving.

Sadly, Suor Maria fell ill and died shortly after the last letter reprinted in "Letters to Father". Her letters are a fitting memorial to her life and her love for her father.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Parrish on October 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This collection of all surviving letters from Suor Maria Celeste to Galileo Galilei, translated by the author and published for the first time in English, constitutes a portrait of a young nun devoted to her internationally famous father.

LETTERS TO FATHER is a fast read; the even numbered pages contain the original Italian, the odd numbered pages contain their English translations. Ms. Sobel provides unobtrusive annotations in the margins that clarify allusions in the text, provide context in light of world events, and explain gaps in the dialogue: Galileo's responses to his daughter's letters are no longer extant.

Suor Maria Celeste's (Virginia Galilei's) adoration for her father is abundantly evident during the ten year correspondence. As is her nearly constant need for financial assistance. LETTERS TO FATHER provides a window into life in an early 17th century Italian monastery.

Despite Virginia's dire poverty and excruciating toothaches, her optimism and wry sense of humor show through. My favorite line: "If Vincenzio remains suspicious of your possible contagion, Sire, that will be to your advantage, since no one takes money from a person infected with the plague; and thus he, who has such great fear of the disease, will demand no funds from you." I would also like to quote, from a different letter, "I implore you not to confuse yourself with drink, as I hear you have been doing." The latter was written during Galileo's deposition before the Inquisition.

I believe LETTERS TO FATHER should be read after Ms. Sobel's companion book, GALILEO'S DAUGHTER, a biography of Suor Maria Celeste that (necessarily) includes a portrait of Galileo's personal life, one I consider to be the best in print.

Ms. Sobel no doubt published this book in an effort to fill a gap in the scholarly literature. When I read it, I read a love story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is startlingly interesting. It really gives you a feel for life as they led it with all of the descriptions of their daily concerns, health and illness. The plight of the convent in its dependence on family and relatives shows how each convent must have been quite different depending on who was related to whom and who had wealth. Surprisingly little about Galileo comes from this other than his attentions to their needs and the frequent occasions of his health problems. The letters are short and unless you read the Italian as well as the English the book reads quickly but it is especially after reading through letter after letter that a gradual picture of life and their problems and joys becomes solid. The book is also beautifully done (I have the hardcover copy -signed!) The ribbon is a nice touch. It also helps with my Italian.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: science history