초록 close

The Significance of Newton in John Banville’s The Newton Letter Seokmoo Choi With the appropriate and ingenious introduction of the title, background, and biographical facts of Newton, Banville leads us to read The Newton Letter in terms of Newton’s life and his scientific discoveries. The narrator writing Newton’s biography is continuously connected with Newton, which helps us guess that he, like Newton, will become skeptical of his work and show his new interest in ordinary life. The Newton Letter demonstrates how the law of gravity is working not only in our surroundings but also in the characters, such as Ottilie, Michael, and the narrator. In particular, the narrator, who has often had sexual relations with Ottilie, is attracted to Charlotte, a middle-aged woman, for which he cannot give any logical explanation. The process of how the narrator contemplates returning to Ottilie is also described in terms of gravity. Images of circles and wheels are found throughout the text, recalling orbits, around which the earth and the other planets are moving by the working of gravitational attraction. Those images found in everyday life do not give us any sense of order, thus making us skeptical of Newton’s discoveries. The concept of orbits is also applied to characters, who seem to trace the set patterns of life, a kind of orbit.In The Newton Letter, Banville, instead of glorifying Newton as a great scientist, shows the limitation of his theory by asking if his discoveries restored the age of reason. Characters do not feel any sense of order from the way gravity works in our daily lives. Nonetheless, when we read the novel tracing Newton and his discoveries, we feel that the writer tried to create a sense of order out of disorder. Creation of artistically balanced work, Banville believes, is the only solution to the frustrating reality of our life.


The Significance of Newton in John Banville’s The Newton Letter Seokmoo Choi With the appropriate and ingenious introduction of the title, background, and biographical facts of Newton, Banville leads us to read The Newton Letter in terms of Newton’s life and his scientific discoveries. The narrator writing Newton’s biography is continuously connected with Newton, which helps us guess that he, like Newton, will become skeptical of his work and show his new interest in ordinary life. The Newton Letter demonstrates how the law of gravity is working not only in our surroundings but also in the characters, such as Ottilie, Michael, and the narrator. In particular, the narrator, who has often had sexual relations with Ottilie, is attracted to Charlotte, a middle-aged woman, for which he cannot give any logical explanation. The process of how the narrator contemplates returning to Ottilie is also described in terms of gravity. Images of circles and wheels are found throughout the text, recalling orbits, around which the earth and the other planets are moving by the working of gravitational attraction. Those images found in everyday life do not give us any sense of order, thus making us skeptical of Newton’s discoveries. The concept of orbits is also applied to characters, who seem to trace the set patterns of life, a kind of orbit.In The Newton Letter, Banville, instead of glorifying Newton as a great scientist, shows the limitation of his theory by asking if his discoveries restored the age of reason. Characters do not feel any sense of order from the way gravity works in our daily lives. Nonetheless, when we read the novel tracing Newton and his discoveries, we feel that the writer tried to create a sense of order out of disorder. Creation of artistically balanced work, Banville believes, is the only solution to the frustrating reality of our life.