Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration

University Press of Kentucky
Free sample

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. Most writers -- including Langland, Gower, Barclay, Eramus, Sidney, Greene, Lyly, and Shakespeare -- were familiar with alchemy, and references to it appear in a wide range of genres. Yet the purposes it served in literature from Chaucer through Jonson were narrowly satirical.

In literature of the seventeenth century, especially in the poetry of Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton, the functions of alchemy changed. Focusing on Bacon, Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, and Milton -- in addition to Jonson and Butler -- Linden demonstrates the emergence of new attitudes and innovative themes, motifs, images, and ideas.

The use of alchemy to suggest spiritual growth and change, purification, regeneration, and millenarian ideas reflected important new emphases in alchemical, medical, and occultist writing. This new tradition did not continue, however, and Butler's return to satire was contextualized in the antagonism of the Royal Society and religious Latitudinarians to philosophical enthusiasm and the occult. Butler, like Shadwell and Swift, expanded the range of satirical victims to include experimental scientists as well as occult charlatans. The literary uses of alchemy thus reveal the changing intellectual milieus of three centuries.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Stanton J. Linden is Professor Emeritus of English, Washington State University. His publications include Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration (1996), Emblems and Alchemy (co-editor, 1998), and a critical edition of George Ripley's Compound of Alchymy (2001).

Read more
Collapse
Loading…

Additional Information

Publisher
University Press of Kentucky
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jul 11, 2014
Read more
Collapse
Pages
384
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780813150178
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best for
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
Literary Criticism / Subjects & Themes / General
Read more
Collapse
Content protection
This content is DRM free.
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
©2021 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.