By Iggy McGovern

A Mystic Dream of 4

Iggy McGovern’s sonnet-sequence life of mathematician William Rowan Hamilton. Hardback edition only available.


William Rowan Hamilton (1805-65) was the foremost mathematician of the mid nineteenth century. Appointed to the Andrews Chair of Astronomy of Dublin University in the final year of his undergraduate degree, his achievements included the prediction of Conical Refraction and the discovery of Quaternions. Today, his name is perpetuated in the ‘Hamiltonian’ of the Schrödinger Equation. He was also a poet and a friend of Wordsworth, with whom he corresponded. Possessing a passionate nature, his lifelong feelings for Catherine Disney, despite their separate marriages, were just within the bounds of Victorian respectability.

A Mystic Dream of 4 is a sonnet sequence based on the life and times of a remarkable Irishman.That life spanned the aftermath of United Irishmen revolt of 1798, the O’Connell campaigns of Reform and Repeal,The Oxford Movement and The Great Famine.The sequence consists of 64 sonnets, mainly in the voices of relatives, colleagues and friends of Hamilton, who tell the story of the life and reflect the mores of the times.A Mystic Dream of 4 is published by Quaternion Press and distributed by Dedalus Press.

216 x 140 mm

Additional information

Weight.2 kg
Dimensions216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9780992629403
  • Size: : 216 x 140 mm
  • Pages: :
  • Published: :

About The Author


Iggy McGovern was born in 1948 in Coleraine. Since 1979 he has resided in Dublin, where he lectured in Physics at Trinity College until retirement in 2013. He has published two collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, The King of Suburbia (2005) and Safe House (2010). He edited the anthology 20|12: Twenty Irish Poets Respond to Science in Twelve Lines (Dedalus/Quaternia. 2012). Awards include The Hennessy Award for Poetry and The Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry. His most recent publication is A Mystic Dream of 4, a poetic biography of William Rowan Hamilton (Quaternia. 2013). PERSONAL STATEMENT "My poetry is characterised by form & rhyme and humour; it also reflects my professional career as a physicist. I am interested in exploring the common ground between Science and Literature." REVIEW EXCERPT “Light, rarely lightweight, McGovern’s voice is very much his own … unaffectedly honest, instructive and entertaining” — Eamon Grennan, The Irish Times, 2011