Dmitri Levitin

Deifying Gravity

Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton


Oxford University Press 522pp £22.99 order from our bookshop

Albert Einstein famously quipped, ‘Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.’ In 1940 he had major difficulties, but they had nothing to do with mathematics. An acquaintance of his, the polymath and collector Abraham Yahuda, had four years earlier acquired a huge swathe of Isaac Newton’s manuscripts after their sale at Sotheby’s, and Einstein was now seeking a home for them. Alas, even the discoverer of the theory of relativity found there were limits to his powers of persuasion. Yale claimed that they lacked the space to house the papers, while Harvard reminded him that there was a war going on. Princeton, meanwhile, politely refused the material on the grounds that its content was not scientific.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,
    • Today is the first today of the – they've got some excellent events coming up over the next two weeks.… ,