Alphonse Daudet’s 1888 novel L’Immortel is based on one of the more bizarre forgery scandals of the nineteenth century. In 1869 Michel Chasles, an eminent geometrist and academician, presented the Académie des sciences with letters from Pascal which flattered French nationalist pride by apparently demonstrating that it was he, and not Newton, who had first formulated a theory of gravity. These letters, the authenticity of which was immediately questioned by scientists and Newton scholars on both sides of the Channel, were from Chasles’s personal collection of some 27,000 autographs, all from significant historical figures (ranging from Joan of Arc to Alexander the Great via Mary Magdalene and Vercingétorix), all written …

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Bielecki, Emma . "L'Immortel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 March 2013
[, accessed 29 April 2016.]