The Alchemist's Personae

in Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780226608563
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226608570 | DOI:
The Alchemist's Personae

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This chapter examines the emergence of an alchemical persona from the late Middle Ages to the sixteenth century, the initial elements of which it describes as having been reshaped in reaction to public debates about alchemy. It discusses the public perception of the alchemist as artisan, fool, and corrupt merchant. The chapter suggests that in the absence of formal institutions to shape the alchemist's identity, these cultural discourses became all the more important in shaping just who alchemists were and where they fitted into the early modern social and cultural landscape.

Keywords: alchemical persona; Middle Ages; public debates; alchemy; cultural discourses; alchemists; cultural landscape

Chapter.  13401 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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