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The Alchymist's Journal

The Alchymist's Journal

by Evan S. Connell

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A banquet of ideas, Connell's esoteric novel, evoking the Western world poised on the brink of modernity, has a central preoccupation: At what price to the soul has today's mechanistic worldview been forged? The narrative consists of seven imaginary pre-Renaissance diaries, presented in sequence, beginning with the thundering voice of the famous 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus, defiant, belligerent, egotistical foe of medical orthodoxy. Paracelsus seeks correspondences between the microcosm and the macrocosm, as does the unnamed humanistic philosopher whose ruminations bring the colloquy full circle. In between we hear from an alchemical novice, an old skeptic, an open-minded physician, a devout Christian historian and a revolutionary who spouts apocalyptic forebodings. Connell ( Son of the Morning Star ) achieves moments of great beauty in luxuriant, if sometimes overwrought prose that seems to have sprung from the late Middle Ages. If his novel comes off as hermetic, a failed alchemical experiment, it nevertheless commands thoughtful attention, its surface resplendent with forgotten lore of alchemy, science and love. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The ancient art of alchemy has fascinated writers for centuries, novelist Connell being no exception. Perhaps best known for the television and recent movie adaptations of his works Son of the Morning Star , Mr. Bridge , and Mrs. Bridge , Connell here delves into more obscure matters. Consisting of a series of journals told from the viewpoints of seven alchemists, this work explores alchemy and its relationship to life. Although written in an antique style, the journal entries nonetheless offer contemporary wisdom, especially on the subject of healing. However, despite its creativity, the book uses technical and esoteric vocabulary that will present difficulty for all but the most determined reader. This is a book for those who enjoy the puzzling and who share Connell's enthusiasm for the subject.-- Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

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Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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