Spring 1943 • Vol. V No. 2 Book Reviews |

Gibbs and the Age of Power

Willard Gibbs by Muriel Rukeyser. Doubleday Doran. $3.50. Both before and after writing this book, Miss Rukeyser has received for her intrepidity a number of slaps on the wrist—and even, from a particularly malicious reviewer, one in the face. That a young woman poet should be so bold as to do a full-length intellectual biography of a neglected mathematical physicist, an abstruse man who still has terrors for specialists, obviously proved her a hussy and the book no good. Mr. Joseph Wood Krutch, for example, calling upon oneiromancy after skimming a few chapters, was sure that her thesis could be none other than "Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare." Instead of finding a priori reasons why a young woman poet should be interested in a mathematical physicist, a safer procedure would be to read the book. Miss Rukeyser nowhere says or implies that Gibbs was a great poet. She does say that a high type of imagination is required for creative work in pure science, and she cite

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