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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Isaac Newton


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Isaac Newton : 

'Byron had intoxicated him "with the freedom of his style of writing, with the fervour or passionateness of his feelings and with the dark and terrible pictures which he seemed to take pleasure in painting". The general effect of reading Milton, Hobbes, Locke and Newton had been "to make me resolve to be free. I saw that it was impossible for the soul of man to answer the end for which it was created, while tramelled by human authority, or fettered with human creeds. I saw that if I was to do justice to truth, to God, or to my own soul, I must break loose from all creeds and laws of men's devising, and live in full and unrestricted liberty..."'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Joseph Barker      Print: Book


Isaac Newton : Opticks

"[Thomas] Bowman [Wordsworth's schoolmaster] once left the young W[ordsworth] in his study for a moment and returned to find him reading the Opticks."

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: William Wordsworth      Print: Book


Isaac Newton : Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

"[Isaac] Newton had gained international renown following the publication of his Principia in 1679 ... [attaining] something of the status of a demi-god. 'Does he eat and sleep? Is he like other men?' an awed nobleman had asked John Arbuthnot after scanning the work."

Century: 1600-1699     Reader/Listener/Group: anon      Print: Book


Isaac Newton : Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

'When we speak of calculi - I brought home [some f]ew mathematical books, which I must tell you of - Bossuts "history [of] mathematics", Woods "optics", Cunn's "Euclid" and Newton's "principia" constitute my [stock] of this sort - I got Lucans "Pharsalia" also, and some little extracts of Fenelons "dialogues des morts". If there are any of these (except Newton for which you would be [obliged] to wait awhile) that you wish to see - they are ready for you. I had read Bossut before - and have not done much at him of late. Neither have I read any quantity of Wood yet, having been nibbling at the "Principia" (which with all my struggling, I come but ill at understanding - indeed in some places I don't understand it at all) ever since I came home. Of Lucan I have not read above seven lines.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book


Isaac Newton : Philosophi? Naturalis Principia Mathematica

'For the rest - I continued reading Newton's "Principia" with considerable perseverance & little success - till on arriving a short way into the third book - I discovered that I had too little knowledge of Astronomy, to understand his reasoning rightly. And I forthwith sent to Edinr for De Lambre's "abr?g? d'Astronomie"; and in the mean time, betook myself to reading Wood's "optics". I cannot say much about this book. Its author intermeddles not with the abstruse parts of the science - such as the causes of reflection & refraction?the reason why transparent bodies, at given angles of incidence, reflect their light almost entirely (concerning which, I meet with many learned details, in the Encyclopedia Britan) - but contents himself with demonstrating, in a plain enough manner, the ordinary effects of plane & spherical mirrors - and of lenses of various kinds - applying his doctrines, to the explanation of various optical instruments & remarkable phenomena. But in truth, I know little about it, I read it with too great velocity. - I also read Keil's "introductio ad veram Physicam"; but I shall let it pass till next time I write. In fine De Lambre arrived; & I have read into his fourth Le?on -and like it greatly.I intended to have told you some of his observations - but I would not overwhelm you with ennui all at once - and therefore, I shall be silent at present. - [italics]ne quid nimis[end italics] [moderation in all things - editor's note] ? as the proverb saith'.

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book


Sir Isaac Newton : Institutes

'It occurred to me; much about the same time that it would be proper to study Stewart's Essays, Berkel[e]y's principes of knowledge, Rumfords Essays, Newton ['s] Institutes, Simpson's Fluxions &c &c - If to these overpowering engagements you add the numberless fits of indolence - and the perpetual visitations of spleen, to which one is subjected in this dirty little uncomfortable planet of ours - I presume you will have a sufficient excuse for my silence; and will rather wonder indeed that you have heard from me at all.'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas Carlyle      Print: Book


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