Download PDF by Stanton J. Linden: Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from

By Stanton J. Linden

ISBN-10: 0813119685

ISBN-13: 9780813119687

The literary impression of alchemy and hermeticism within the paintings of such a lot medieval and early smooth authors has been neglected. Stanton Linden now presents the 1st entire exam of this impression on English literature from the past due center a while in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries. Drawing greatly on alchemical allusions in addition to at the useful and theoretical heritage of the artwork and its pictorial culture, Linden demonstrates the pervasiveness of curiosity in alchemy in this three-hundred-year interval. such a lot writers―including Langland, Gower, Barclay, Eramus, Sidney, Greene, Lyly, and Shakespeare―were accustomed to alchemy, and references to it look in quite a lot of genres. but the needs it served in literature from Chaucer via Jonson have been narrowly satirical. In literature of the 17th century, specially within the poetry of Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton, the services of alchemy replaced. concentrating on Bacon, Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton―in addition to Jonson and Butler―Linden demonstrates the emergence of recent attitudes and leading edge topics, motifs, photos, and concepts. using alchemy to indicate non secular development and alter, purification, regeneration, and millenarian principles mirrored very important new emphases in alchemical, scientific, and occultist writing. This new culture didn't proceed, besides the fact that, and Butler's go back to satire used to be contextualized within the antagonism of the Royal Society and spiritual Latitudinarians to philosophical enthusiasm and the occult. Butler, like Shadwell and speedy, improved the variety of satirical sufferers to incorporate experimental scientists in addition to occult charlatans. The literary makes use of of alchemy hence show the altering highbrow milieus of 3 centuries.

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Rash) he is prone to be deceived by authors and works that promise greater and more spectacular cures and secrets. In marked contrast to the Paracelsian practitioner described earlier, Starkey's subject is "for the most part garrulous, and vainly glorious, ... oft declaiming of his Art, ... of which he is before hand as sure, as he who sold a Bearskin before he had killed the Bear" (58). His pride inspires him only to the highest ends, but incapable of attaining them for reasons of impatience and contempt for requisite training and preparation, he "verifies the Proverb of him, who reaching at a star stumbles at a straw, resolving to appear nothing, unless he may equal the highest, he lives all his life in obscuritie, care, and anxiety" (60).

For unto Crist it is so lief and deere That he wol nat that it discovered bee, But where it liketh to his deitee - The Canon's Yeoman's Talel As has been shown, the commonly accepted medieval and Renaissance worldview, those ideas and assumptions that were held concerning the universe, God, and man, also constituted the supportive framework upon which alchemical theory and practice depended. Commanding the authoritative weight ascribed to "traditional" thought ascending from antiquity, the theory of the four elements and the prima materia, the macrocosm-microcosm idea with its intricate system of correspondences and the anima mundi, and the sulphur-mercury explanation of the generation of metals, was, as much medieval and sixteenth-century literature shows, a matter of comfortable belief although not impervious to doubt.

However, beginning with Bacon's scientific prose and the poems of Donne and Herbert, this singleness of vision is scattered and replaced by what are usually more serious religious, philosophical, and medical adaptations. At a time when alchemical, iatrochemical, and hermetic writing was much concerned with these new directions, it is natural to find Vaughan and Milton following them as well. This line of development does not continue to the end of the century, however, and owing to the New Science, Rationalism, and the general attacks on philosophical enthusiasm in the Restoration period and beyond, we find a return to satire in the works of Samuel Butler, Shadwell, and Swift.

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Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration by Stanton J. Linden


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