‘A bibliographic thriller’

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That’s what The Newton Papers is according to Stuart Kelly in The Scotsman, as well as a ‘brilliant biography of Newton and how his reputation has changed over the centuries’ which is a ‘delight to read.’

He also suggests I write an old-fashioned biography of Newton–a flattering if also alarming suggestion. The deeper point behind the suggestion–that the book raises questions about who Newton really was (and what, for example, his 1693 mental breakdown was all about) that it leaves unanswered–is a fair one. The appetite to understand Newton is what the book is about, after all, and I wish I’d had room to include more about Newton himself in addition to the story of how Newton has been understood through his papers. But if there’s one thing I know since writing this book, it’s just how easy it is to lose oneself in the story of Newton, and just how hard it is to settle the matter of who he was once and for all.


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