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Newtonian Bibliography

You can buy many of these books online through's bookshop.

Another Newtonian bibliography is maintained by Bob Bruen - this includes references for a large number of papers by Newton. For the books owned by Newton himself, see Villamil's catalogues from Newton: the Man.

Works by Newton

Newton (A Norton critical edition)
Edited by I.B. Cohen and R.S. Westfall, pp436, W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 1995, ISBN 0-393-95902-3. An anthology of key Newtonian writings: both by Newton himself and by historians of science. Arranged in nine sections: Natural Philosophy, Scientific Method, Experimental Procedure, Optics, Rational Mechanics, System of the World, Alchemy and Theory of Matter, Theology, Mathematics. (And all this for only £6.99 in the UK!)
Certain Philosophical Questions: Newton's Trinity Notebook
Edited with commentary (325 pp) by J.E. McGuire and Martin Tamny, 519pp, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983, ISBN 0-521-23164-7.
Printed facsimile of ULC Add MS 3996 Questiones quaedam Philosophicae ("QQP") with on the page transcription into modern spelling. Also, facsimile of ULC Add MS 3975 Of Colours. This is a thorough, almost line by line, analysis of QQP. My criticism of their comments on the Two Falling Globes experiment is the exception rather than the rule. QQP marked the beginning of Newton's study of 17th century natural philosophy and all of his famous discoveries in science grew from essays in this notebook.
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and his System of the World
Andrew Motte's 1729 translation, revised by Florian Cajori, 1930. 2 vols, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1962, ISBN 0-520-00929-0.
Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
Reprint of the 1687 first edition, William Dawson & Sons, London, 1953, 1000 copies.
The first time Principia was published in England after Newton's death (excluding translations.)
The Principia
Reprint of the 1729 translation by Andrew Motte, 455pp, Prometheus Books, New York, 1995, ISBN 0-87975-980-1.
The edition is itself a reprint of the 1848 New York edition of D. Adee, and includes an index.
Opticks, or a Treatise of Reflections, Refractions, Inflections, and Colours of Light
Fourth English edition of 1730. Preface by I. Bernard Cohen. Introduction by Sir Edmund Whittaker. Foreward by Albert Einstein. Analytical Table of Contents by Duane H.D. Roller. 56 lines drawings, 7 figures. cxxvi+406pp. Dover, New York, 1952, ISBN 0-486-60205-2.
Correspondence of Sir Isaac Newton and Professor Cotes including letters of other eminent men, now first published from the originals in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge
Edited by Joseph Edleston. J.W. Parker, Cambridge, 1850.
Edleston printed most of the correspondence between Newton and Cotes between 1709 and 1715, and correspondences with others including Richard Bentley, John Keill, Henry Oldenburg, John Locke, Robert Hooke and John Wallis. Also printed was some material from the records of Trinity College (where Edleston was Senior Bursar) including Newton's college dividends for 1668-1702, his redits and exits (``comings and goings'' recorded by his signature in the Exit and Redit books and included in Newtonia's Chronology) for 1668-96, and his buttery bills for 1686-1702.
The Correspondence of Isaac Newton
Edited by H.W. Turnbull, J.F. Scott, A.R. Hall. 7 vols. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • I 1661-1675 (1959)
  • II 1676-1687 (1960 552pp)
  • III 1687-1694
  • IV 1694-1709 (1967 612pp ISBN 0-521-05815-5)
  • V 1709-1713 (1975 490pp ISBN 0-521-08721-X)
  • VI 1713-1718 (1976 537pp ISBN 0-521-08722-8)
  • VII 1718-1727 (1978 536pp ISBN 0-521-08723-6)
The Mathematical Works of Isaac Newton
Edited by D.T. Whiteside. 8 vols. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1967-81.
  • I 1664-1666 (1967)
  • II 1667-1670
  • III 1670-1673 (1969 616pp ISBN 0-521-07119-4)
  • IV 1674-1684 (1971 712pp ISBN 0-521-07740-0)
  • V 1684-1691 (1975 649pp ISBN 0-521-08262-5)
  • VI 1691-1695 (1976 754pp ISBN 0-521-08719-8)
  • VII 1697-1722 (1981 760pp ISBN 0-521-08720-1)
Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton
Edited by A.R. Hall and M.B. Hall. Translations of latin texts. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1962.
The Optical Papers of Isaac Newton: vol I, the Optical Lectures 1670-1672
Edited by Alan E. Shapiro. 656pp. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984, ISBN 0-521-25248-2.

Manuscript Collections

Additional MS in the Cambridge University Library
Most of Newton's scientific papers were donated to Cambridge University Library by the earl of Portsmouth, and are catalogued among the Add MS.
Keynes Collection at King's College, Cambridge
John Maynard Keynes, the influential economist, bought a large number of Newton's non-scientific papers, especially on alchemy. He left them to King's, his old Cambridge college.


There are also several biographies on the Web.

Never at Rest
Richard S. Westfall, 908pp, 23 illustrations, figures, 10 page bibliographic essay, detailed footnotes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1980, 1983, ISBN 0-521-23143-4 (hardback), ISBN 0-521-27435-4 (paperback).
A.R. Hall's verdict was "That this is the best biography of Newton is easily and truthfully said ... surely no one is going to repeat Westfall's immense and shrewdly conducted task in this century at least."
You can buy this book online through Newtonia's bookshop.
The Life of Isaac Newton
Richard S. Westfall, 325pp, 6 illustrations, 9 line diagrams. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993, ISBN 0-521-43252-9.
This is an abriged version of Never at Rest with many of the technical passages removed.
Isaac Newton: Adventurer in Thought
A. Rupert Hall, 468pp, 16 figures and illustrations. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1992, ISBN 0-631-17906-2.
Hall's book did not attempt to replace Never at Rest and put most emphasis on Hall's own interests of Newton's mathematics and physics.
In the Presence of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times
Gale E. Christianson, 623pp, 9 figures, 23 pictures. The Free Press, New York, 1984, ISBN 0-02-905190-8.
Similar in size to Never at Rest but more of a secondary work.
Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's Life
William Stukeley, Taylor & Francis, London, 1936.
The first publication of a ninety page manuscript written by Stukeley in 1752 containing material collected by Stukeley during his friendship with Newton of 1718-27.
Memoirs of the Life, Writings and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton
Sir David Brewster, 2 vols. Thomas Constable & Co., Edinburgh, 1855.
Newton: the Man
R. de Villamil, 111pp. Gordon Knox, London, 1931. Foreword by Albert Einstein.
Villamil discovered both the inventory of Newton's estate made after his death and catalogues of his library. These documents are published as appendices to this unique book which is largely a discussion of their contents. Newtonia includes a hypertext version of Newton: the Man
Issac Newton: a Biography
L.T. More, 1934.
Brief Lives No. 11: Sir Isaac Newton
E.N. da C. Andrade, 140pp, 1 portrait, several figures, Collins, London, 1954.
A Portrait of Isaac Newton
Frank Manuel, pp478, 18 plates, Da Capo Press, New York, 1968, ISBN 0-306-80400-X.
A problematic book to say the least, based on a psychological analysis of Newton's life which most subsequent biographers have criticised to varying degrees.

Books about Newton's Work

Force in Newton's Physics: The Science of Dynamics in the Seventeenth Century
Richard S. Westfall, 579pp, American Elsevier, New York and Macdonald and Co., London, 1971.
The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy, or the Hunting of the Green Lion
Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs, 315pp, 4 plates, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1975, ISBN 0 521 27381 1.
Includes a 20 page bibliography of related Newtonian and alchemical books, a list of Newton's alchemical papers from the Sotheby Sale of 1936, Newton's essay on the preparation of star reguluses (Cambridge UL MS Add 3975, f.42 r,v) and "The Key" ("Clavis" of Keynes MS 18) in Latin and English translation.
The Janus faces of genius: the role of alchemy in Newton's thought
Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs, 359pp, 11 illustrations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991, ISBN 0-521-38084-7.
Five alchemical texts are included as appendices:
Of natures obvious laws & processes in vegetation
Dibner MSS 1031 B (part), Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution.
Keynes MS 28, King's College, Cambridge.
Out of La Lumiere sortant des Tenebres
Yahuda MS Var.1, Newton MS 30, Jewish National and University Library; and Babson MS 414 B, Babson College.
Experiments & observations Dec. 1692 & Jan. 1692/3
Add MS 3973.8, Cambridge Univsersity Library.
Babson MS 420 (part), Babson College.
There is a review from Configurations
Fits, Passions and Paroxysms: Physics, method and chemistry and Newton's theories of colored and fits of easy reflection
Alan E. Shapiro, 400pp, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993, ISBN 0-521-40507-6.
Divided into two sections: Part I Physics and Method: Newton's Theories of Colored Bodies and Fits (207pp); Part II Physics and Chemistry: The Theory of Colored Bodies, the Chemists' Revolt and Absorption Spectroscopy (150pp)
The Newton Handbook
Derek Gjertsen, 665pp, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1986, ISBN 0-7102-0279-2.
An encyclopaedia of information about Newton, with articles about significant contemporaries and modern authors, Newtonian subjects, and even one entitled Giants and pebbles.
The Library of Isaac Newton
John Harrison, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1978.
Harrison collated the Huggins and Musgrave catalogues with data from an examination of the individual volumes where possible. This is currently the most reliable source of information about Newton's library.
Let Newton Be!
Edited by John Fauvel, Raymond Flood, Michael Shortland and Robin Wilson, 272pp, c.100 illustrations, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988, ISBN 0-19-853937-1.
Contents: Newton's success Derek Gjertsen, Newton's Principia John Roche, Newton's mathematical work Jon Pepper, Newton's optics: the changing spectrum of science Casper Hakfoort, The harmonic roots of Newtonian science Penelope Gouk, Newton, matter and magic John Henry, The secret life of an alchemist Jan Golinkski, The God of Isaac Newton John Brooke, Newton and the wisdom of the ancients Piyo Rattansi, Anti-Newton Geoffrey Cantor, Newton as national hero Maureen McNeil, Newton and the twentieth century - a personal view Sir Hermann Bondi.


The Birth of a New Physics
I. Bernard Cohen, 258pp, 1960. Revised edition Penguin Books, 1987, ISBN 0-14-022694-X.
Theories of Light: from Descartes to Newon
A.I. Sabra, 365pp, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981, ISBN 0-521-24094-8 (hardback) and ISBN 0-521-28436-8 (paperback)
Conjectures and Refutations
Karl R. Popper, 431pp, Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited, London, 5th edition 1974, ISBN 0-7100-6508-6.
Popper's obituaries in 1994 called him the most important philosopher of the 20th century. In this book, his thesis that science advances by proposing conjectures and attempting to refute them, is explained and applied to topics in science, philosophy and social sciences. There are some quotations from the book.
Henry More: Magic, Religion and Experiment
A. Rupert Hall, 304pp, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, 1990, ISBN 0-631-17295-5.
Hall is one of the most important Newtonian scholars, and this emphasis is very evident in his book, which is almost "Henry More for people interested in Newton". In his own words: "My book is concerned only with the scientific aspects of More's thought, and his relationship to Newton in particular. I have excluded any evaluation of More as poet and theologian." Nevertheless, Hall skillfully uses More's ideas to throw many aspects of Newton's philosophy into sharp relief.
On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript
Robert K. Merton, foreward by Umberto Eco, afterward by Denis Donoghue. xxv+320pp, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1993 (first edition 1965) ISBN 0-226-52086-2.
A comprehensive study of the image of seeing further by standing on the shoulders of giants, from the twelfth to twentieth centuries. This image was used Newton in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675.
The Tower of London
R. Allen Brown and P.E. Curnow, 92pp, 19 figures and 27 illustrations, A3 folded plan, glossary, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1984, ISBN 0-11-671148-5.
The Department of the Environment guidebook, with photographs, cutaway drawings and plans. Now that the Tower is administered by the Queen rather than English Heritage, a guidebook like this is no longer available - just ``souvenir books'' with hardly any words.
Survey of London
Published in many volumes, spread over several decades. This is the definitive description of notable buildings in Greater London, including their history, important architectural features and prominent occupiers. Some relevant volumes are:
Everyman edition of the Diary of Samuel Pepys
Deciphered from Pepys' shorthand, and edited in two volumes, notes by Richard Lord Braybrooke, J.M. Dent & Co., London, c.1906.
Many other editions of Pepys' diary are available and the complete text requires about ten volumes. There are some extracts relevant to Newton's life.

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