EMPSON AND QUANTUM PHYSICS. Jonathan Bate in his THE GENIUS OF SHAKESPEARE (Google book pages 313 to 315 here) highlights the influence of discoveries in quantum physics on SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY. Empson himself adverted to the discoveries in atomic physics at page 81: “…. the reader must hold in mind a variety of things that [Shakespeare] may have meant, and weigh them…according to their probabilities. Here as in recent atomic physics there is a shift in progress, which tends to attach the notion of a probability to the natural object rather than to the fallibility of the human mind.” Bate elaborates: “Erwin Schrodinger demonstrated mathematically that a hydrogen atom may have two energies at once, something impossible under previous atomic theory; William Empson demonstrated critically that a text may have two contradictory meanings at once, something impossible under previous literary theory.”

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