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

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.