A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery

Overview

This dictionary documents the rich store-house of alchemical symbolism from the early centuries AD to the late twentieth century, making it available for the use of historians of literary culture, philosophy, science and the visual arts, as well as for those readers with an interest in alchemy and hermeticism. The emphasis is on literary and intellectual references to alchemy in the Western tradition, written in or translated into English. The dictionary focuses most closely on works current in the sixteenth and ...
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Overview

This dictionary documents the rich store-house of alchemical symbolism from the early centuries AD to the late twentieth century, making it available for the use of historians of literary culture, philosophy, science and the visual arts, as well as for those readers with an interest in alchemy and hermeticism. The emphasis is on literary and intellectual references to alchemy in the Western tradition, written in or translated into English. The dictionary focuses most closely on works current in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when alchemy flourished, captivating the minds of some of the greatest figures of the day, from Sir Walter Raleigh to Isaac Newton. Each entry includes a definition of the symbol, giving the literal (physical) and figurative (spiritual) meanings, an example of the symbol used in alchemical writing, and a quotation from a literary source. Writers cited range from Shakespeare, Milton and Donne to Vladimir Nabokov and P.G. Wodehouse. Drawing from the unique holdings of the Ferguson Collection at the University of Glasgow, the dictionary offers a representative selection of fifty visual images (graphic woodcuts, copper plate engravings, or hand-painted emblems), some of which have not been reproduced since they first appeared.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...this is a rich and generous source of information, with many illustrations and copious cross-referencing. Abraham makes an arcane subject accessible without diminishing its rich complexity." Journal of Englih and Germanic Philology

"Lyndy Abraham's Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery represents an invaluable research and reference tool for the specialist in literary studies, the art historian, and the historian of science. Delving into a rich variety of alchemical writings from Aquinas to Zoroaster and a wide range of literary texts, the Dictionary supplies ample evidence for the myriad ways in which alchemical thinking and imagery entered into the broader culture of early modern Europe through poetry, drama, and literature." Deborah Harkness

"...Abraham presents an intellectual dense, highly focused view of alchemical images in a Renaissance context." Norman Weinstein, Parabola

"Accessible and well formatted, this work will find an audience with historians of literary culture, philosophy, science, and visual arts, as well as armchair scholars with an interest in alchemy and hermeticism. This book is recommended for large public and academic collections." Edmund F. Santa Vicca, Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521631853
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/18/1999
  • Pages: 271
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Introduction; A dictionary of alchemical imagery; Bibliography; Index of alchemical and literary authors.

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