



Books by Thomas K. Simpson A NOTE ON RELATED TEXTS: Maxwell's Mathematical Rhetoric identifies the distinctively rhetorical functions of mathematics, as Maxwell employs them in the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. Maxwell on the Electromagnetic Field traces the devopment of Maxwell’s theory of the electromagnetic field. Figures of Thought is a literary study of the form that theory finally takes, in Maxwell’s Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. Maxwell’s Treatise itself is available in two volumes in a Dover reprint edition. Dover Publictions. Michael Faraday’s thought concerning the field underlies Maxwell’s own work in electromagnetism. I have reflected on Faraday’s thought in two lectures, Faraday’s Thought on Electromagnetism, and Faraday’s Mathematics. A detailed study of Part IV of Maxwell’s Treatise is contained in my dissertation at the Johns Hopkins University, A Critical Study of Maxwell’s Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field in the “Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism” (1968). Available from University Microfilms. Finally, an overview of Maxwell’s thinking on electromagnetism is contained in an essay for Great Ideas Today, to be included in the book, Newton/Maxwell/Marx, forthcoming from the Green Lion Press. 


After many years of circulating in typescript form, this remarkable study by Thomas K. Simpson—a work long celebrated as something of an underground classic—is at long last available in a new edition worthy of its vision and depth. Simpson identifies the distinctively rhetorical functions of mathematics, as Maxwell employs them in the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. Like the tropes of classical rhetoric, mathematical rhetoric seeks intelligibility and illumination—in this respect contrasting with what Maxwell termed "the mathematics of pure quantity," which emphasizes precision and logical economy. Maxwell's Mathematical Rhetoric is the book to which Simpson’s Figures of Thought (also available from Green Lion Press) serves as an introduction. Maxwell's Mathematical Rhetoric explores in greater depth and detail the themes adumbrated in Figures of Thought. 
Is there a rhetoric, a poetics, of mathematical physics? Can a physical treatise be read as literature, with characterizations, metaphors, figures, and plot? In this incisive work, Thomas K. Simpson shows that not only is a literary reading of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873) possible, but that such a reading brings us closer to Maxwell's underlying thought, revealing purposes that reach far beyond the equations of electromagnetism. 

In this volume in the Masterworks of Discovery series, Thomas K. Simpson offers readers a chance to watch one of the greatest minds in physics hard at work. In three papers in mathematical physics written between 1855 and 1864, James Clerk Maxwell grappled with his formulation of the theory of the electromagnetic field. 

Newton, Maxwell, Marx: 
