John Banville: The Newton Letter: An Interlude

(2864 words)
  • Pietra Palazzolo (University of Essex)

The Newton Letter: An Interlude (1982) is the third book of Banville's science tetralogy (1976-86). As the subtitle suggests, the book is a befitting interlude to the series, in its ability to reassess the first two books' treatment of the creative process, as is seen in Copernicus' and Kepler's dilemmas (Doctor Copernicus, 1976; Kepler, 1981), and to start a sustained critique of the limits of language that will be further explored in Mefisto (1986). The Newton Letter plots the very process of questioning the epistemological premises of the search for knowledge that all these scientist-characters had embarked on: Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. It draws attention to the challenge of …

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Palazzolo, Pietra. "The Newton Letter: An Interlude". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 November 2007
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]