I had a conversation with a friend today about Voltaire and the court of Frederick the Great. I thought to bring up Euler--who was at one point at Frederick's court--and of whom Voltaire in particular had a quite nasty opinion. My friend is quite intelligent, but he's a literature teacher with almost no knowledge of mathematics and he had never heard of Euler. I tried to put Euler into perspective by saying "Euler is to mathematics what Shakespeare is to English literature." Perhaps you don't agree, but it's what came to me on the spot. I also tried to articulate to some degree Euler's influence on science and mathematics but...he has a huge corpus of work and I don't think I got my point across that well.
How would you explain the significance of Euler to somebody like my friend, the intelligent literature teacher? Do you know of any good books, lectures, or papers that really get his significance across for a general audience? For example, I enjoyed the book "Euler: the master of us all" by Dunham, but I think it would be way too technical for a literature teacher.