but its excellence <spoke against> her

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park sang joon

Senior Member
In the eighteen century, the field of science was virtually closed to women. In France, the Marquise du Chatelet might write a highly regarded book about Newtonian physics, but its excellence spoke against her. The manuscript was so good it was widely assumed that it had been written by the countess' tutor rather than by the countess herself.
[Source: Reading for Results Ninth Edition by Laraine Flemming]
I think "excellence of her book" can have a bad influence on her, but I don't think "excellence of her book" can speak against "her."
So I'd like to know how "excellence of her book" speaks against "her."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • It was assumed that her probably male tutor must have helped her in her research and writing to reach such a point of excellence in the book that was published.

    The excellence spoke against her =confirmed that women could not do such things on their own like men can.

    park sang joon

    Senior Member
    Thank you, Dale, for your kind answer. :)
    I read all the text extracted from the original, but her tutor didn't assist her at all.
    However, it doesn't matter.
    I'd like to know how an inanimate object can speak against someone.
    Of course it doesn't matter. The assumption mattered.

    Speaking of assumptions:), you are assuming that "to speak" has only one literal meaning, and that it isn't used metaphorically to mean other things, which is not at all the case, and inanimate objects are given "voice" all the time in English.

    The music speaks to me = pleases me, resonates with me, touches me emotionally
    The vessels at sea spoke to one another via radio.
    The evidence collected in court speaks for her innocence/conviction
    The evidence spoke against her.
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