THE FRANCINE PAPERS novel, A Portrait of Blaise Pascal by Carol Burnham.

Ésprit Fléchier, a famous 17th century memoirist, remarks en passant that Blaise Pascal was in the constant company of a certain young woman, who, because of her liveliness, fine sensibility, wisdom, and beauty, was known as the ‘Sapho of the district’. This is fact, but is it all that we know of her? Was she also Pascal’s longtime friend and lover? We can surmise that she was a provincial, spending her life in the Auvergne, but it is through the prism of her more modern and freethinking lens that the novel sees its hero. It is in contrast to her voluptuousness, her down-to earth practicality, her religious detachment, and her tolerance of ambiguities that we view Pascal’s intellectual anguish and flirtation with fundamentalism.

Blaise Pascal, probably more than any other figure, embodied the intellectual probings and contradictions of his time. He had a theoretical genius, tempered by a pragmatism that insisted on experimentation and evidence over received opinion. He was one of the leaders of the 17th century scientific revolution and the author of a satirical polemic masterpiece, The Provincial Letters, as well as the posthumously published collection of philosophical fragments, the Pensées.


Carol Burnham has a master’s degree in English literature and has taught at colleges in the San Francisco Bay area, where she resides with her husband, Richard. She is the author of two previous novels Attic Light and The Caver.

Praise for The Caver:

Rich, enthralling, intelligent . . . a deeply engaging story about interesting people in a magical setting. I loved it. ÉILíS Ní DHUIBHNE

Praise for Attic Light: 

Infused with light and powered by darkness, myth and deep passion.  Lush, intelligent, evocative. A feast for the senses, a journey through exotic landscapes and the darker regions of the human heart.’ ALISON ANDERSON


ISBN:978 1 999997014
Paperback with flaps
Historical Fiction
8 October 2020