Protean Bodies: Literature, Alchemy, Science and English Revolutions

Margaret Healy

in Renaissance Transformations

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638734
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651573 | DOI:
Protean Bodies: Literature, Alchemy, Science and English Revolutions

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter studies the embodied imagination. It considers how the emergence of the alchemical, Paracelsian medical model and cosmology during the Renaissance significantly impacted scientific and social thinking. The chapter studies how a preoccupation with the chemical powers of regeneration and transmutation captured the imaginations of the seventeenth century, including that of Francis Bacon. It reveals that these alchemical concepts served as the inspiration for Bacon's New Atlantis. The chapter also emphasises how the imagined inner power of chemical philosophers helped authorise the intellectual and social transformations and political and scientific revolutions in England.

Keywords: embodied imagination; Paracelsian medical model; alchemy; Francis Bacon; chemical philosophers; scientific revolution; social transformation

Chapter.  7001 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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