Front Cover

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Half Title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, In Memoriam, Quotations

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

The seed of this project was planted in a seminar called Renaissance Cosmologies led by Betty Jo Dobbs at the Folger Shakespeare Library. At the time I was early in my graduate training, trying to find a topic on religion in early modern England, and had never even heard of the history of science. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

In 1652 the antiquary, heraldist, and occult enthusiast Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) published his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, a massive collection of texts that reproduced manuscript alchemical recipes and treatises in print for the first time. The Theatrum provided seventeenth-century readers with thirty complete alchemical texts and more than twenty alchemical fragments. ...

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Chapter 1: Thomas Tymme and Natural Philosophy: Schism and Alchemical Unity in the Book of Nature

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pp. 16-42

Reverend Thomas Tymme was probably a local figure of note (and a figure of fun) as he hurried along the labyrinthine streets in and around St. Paul’s Cathedral in late Elizabethan London. This learned but odd and fretful clergyman surely talked with the neighborhood shopkeepers, artisans, journeymen printers and booksellers, and even more surely preached to them in his parish dedicated to Saint Anthony (and subsidized by St. Paul’s). ...

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Chapter 2: Robert Fludd, Natural Theology, and the Alchemical Debate of 1623

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pp. 43-74

In 1623 Robert Fludd was once again forced to unsheathe his polemical sword. Since 1617, this diminutive, Oxford-educated gentleman from Kent had spent much of his time wielding his verbal broadsword against an array of intellectual opponents. The German astronomer and natural philosopher Johannes Kepler and the French mechanical philosophers Marin Mersenne and Pierre Gassendi had dueled with Fludd, ...

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Chapter 3: Francis Bacon, Alchemy, and the Great Redemption

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pp. 75-98

His contributions to governing, rhetoric, and science aside, Francis Bacon was trained to be a lawyer, and although he never practiced law, he used his legal expertise and experience to sniff out all manner of frauds and pretenders: astrologers, magicians, witches, necromancers—virtually all practitioners of the occult.1 ...

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Chapter 4: Catholic Natural Philosophy: Alchemy and the Revivification of Sir Kenelm Digby

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pp. 99-127

On May 1, 1633, Lady Venetia Digby, the wife of Sir Kenelm Digby, died. Before her body was prepared for burial, however, Digby called upon his good friend, Anthony Van Dyck, the renowned Dutch painter of the Caroline court, and asked him to come to his home immediately and paint a portrait of Venetia as she lay in her deathbed. ...

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Chapter 5 Elias Ashmole: The Collection and Culmination of Alchemical Thought

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pp. 128-159

In 1682 the natural philosopher and antiquary Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) carefully copied a letter in the blank interleaves of his own copy of the monumental collection of alchemical texts he had edited thirty years earlier, Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. The letter that he copied had been neither received nor written by Ashmore. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 160-164

In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the duke of Burgundy, acting as intermediary between the English and French delegations following the English victory at Agincourt, makes an impassioned plea for peace: ...

Notes

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pp. 165-192

Bibliography

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pp. 193-210

Index

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pp. 211-222

Back Cover

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