The third brilliant short biography in Peter Ackroyd's Brief Lives. Newton is a companion volume to Chaucer and Turner
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Isaac Newton (1642-1727), the English genius, made his greatest contributions to original thought before the age of twenty-five, while at home in Lincolnshire escaping the great plague of 1665, a period of which he wrote: 'I was in the prime of age for invention.' Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, an MP, Master of the Mind and President of the Royal Society, Newton, the author of Principia, one of the most important books in the history of science, was fascinated by calculus, the planets and the 'laws of motion', and, in keeping with his age, blurred the borders between natural philosophy and speculation: he was as passionate about astrology as astronomy and dabbled in alchemy, while his religious faith was never undermined by his scientific efforts.
A terrific piece of work ... this is a wonderfully writerly book, never less than elegant in construction and execution
Marcus Berkmann, Spectator
Written in splendidly elastic prose, each sentence a springboard for the next, it provides a concise, fair and highly readable biography of a singular genius
Nigel Hawkes, The Times
Beautifully written and engaging
Allan Chapman, BBC History
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Peter Ackroyd is the author of biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, Wilkie Collins and Thomas More and of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred ...