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Darke hierogliphicks : alchemy in English literature from Chaucer to the Restoration / Stanton J. Linden.

By: Linden, Stanton J, 1935-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Studies in the English Renaissance: Publisher: Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c1996Description: ix, 373 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0813119685 (acid-free, recycled paper); 9780813119687 (acid-free, recycled paper).Subject(s): English literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism | Alchemy in literature | English literature -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism | Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400 -- Knowledge -- Alchemy | Renaissance -- EnglandDDC classification: 820.9/37 LOC classification: PR428.A44 | L56 1996Other classification: 18.05 | HI 1140
Contents:
1. "A Clew and a Labyrinth": Backgrounds, Definitions, and Preliminaries -- 2. "concluden everemoore amys": Chaucer and the Medieval Heritage of Alchemical Satire -- 3. Posers and Impostors: Sixteenth-Century Alchemical Satire -- 4. The Reformation of Vulcan: Francis Bacon and Alchemy -- 5. "Abstract riddles of our stone": Ben Jonson and the Drama of Alchemy -- 6. "a true religious Alchimy": The Poetry of Donne and Herbert -- 7. "that great & generall refining day": Alchemy, Allegory, and Eschatology in the Seventeenth Century -- 8. "Under vailes, and Hieroglyphicall Covertures": Alchemy in the Poetry of Vaughan and Milton -- 9. "Teutonick Chimericall extravagancies": Alchemy, Poetry, and the Restoration Revolt against Enthusiasm -- 10. Cauda Pavonis.
Summary: The literary influence of alchemy and hermeticism in the work of most medieval and early modern authors has been overlooked. Stanton Linden now provides the first comprehensive examination of this influence on English literature from the late Middle Ages through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Drawing extensively on alchemical allusions as well as on the practical and theoretical background of the art and its pictorial tradition, Linden demonstrates the pervasiveness of interest in alchemy during this three-hundred-year period.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PR428.A44 L56 1996 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002137859

Includes bibliographical references (p. 344-360) and index.

1. "A Clew and a Labyrinth": Backgrounds, Definitions, and Preliminaries -- 2. "concluden everemoore amys": Chaucer and the Medieval Heritage of Alchemical Satire -- 3. Posers and Impostors: Sixteenth-Century Alchemical Satire -- 4. The Reformation of Vulcan: Francis Bacon and Alchemy -- 5. "Abstract riddles of our stone": Ben Jonson and the Drama of Alchemy -- 6. "a true religious Alchimy": The Poetry of Donne and Herbert -- 7. "that great & generall refining day": Alchemy, Allegory, and Eschatology in the Seventeenth Century -- 8. "Under vailes, and Hieroglyphicall Covertures": Alchemy in the Poetry of Vaughan and Milton -- 9. "Teutonick Chimericall extravagancies": Alchemy, Poetry, and the Restoration Revolt against Enthusiasm -- 10. Cauda Pavonis.

The literary influence of alchemy and hermeticism in the work of most medieval and early modern authors has been overlooked. Stanton Linden now provides the first comprehensive examination of this influence on English literature from the late Middle Ages through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Drawing extensively on alchemical allusions as well as on the practical and theoretical background of the art and its pictorial tradition, Linden demonstrates the pervasiveness of interest in alchemy during this three-hundred-year period.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Alchemy retains an amazing durability, and this is the third major recent publication to address the apparently inexhaustible interest in this phenomenon (see Timothy Materer's Modernist Alchemy: Poetry and the Occult, CH, Sep'96, and Alchemical Poetry, 1575-1700, ed. by Robert Schuter, CH, May'96). The present text proposes a distinction between "exoteric" and "esoteric" alchemy--that is, between practical alchemy and the spiritual or philosophical approaches that concern "knowledge of the secrets of nature." Linden (Washington State Univ.) examines this knowledge in chapters on Chaucer, Bacon, Jonson, and Donne and provides welcome addenda on Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton. Their "hierogliphicks" translate both as "picture writing" (images) and "sacred writing" ("mysterium") and use a vocabulary widely known in its day as words astronautical are in the late 20th century. Thus the authors created their own subtleties and Linden examines them admirably. If, in the pursuit of nuance and allusion--searching for the last dram of liqueur like the alchemists of old--the author does not completely turn his scholarship's lead into gold, he does nevertheless provide a handsome, well-researched book--weighted with 45 pages of notes and a 19-page bibliography--that makes available exhaustive data on literary alchemy. Upper-division undergraduate and above. E. J. Zimmermann Canisius College

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