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    The royal typographer and the alchemist: John Dee, Willem Silvius, and the diagrammatic alchemy of the Monas Hieroglyphica

    Clucas, Stephen (2017) The royal typographer and the alchemist: John Dee, Willem Silvius, and the diagrammatic alchemy of the Monas Hieroglyphica. Ambix 64 (2), pp. 140-156. ISSN ISSN: 1745-8234 (Online).

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    Abstract

    John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica (1564) was a work which involved a close collaboration between its author and his ‘singular friend’ the Antwerp printer Willem Silvius, in whose house Dee was living whilst he composed the work and saw it through the press. This article considers the reasons why Dee chose to collaborate with Silvius, and the importance of the intellectual culture – and the print trade – of the Low Countries to the development of Dee’s outlook. Dee’s Monas was probably the first alchemical work which focused exclusively on the diagrammatic representation of the alchemical process, combining diagrams, cosmological schemes and various forms of tabular grid. It is argued that in the Monas the boundaries between typography and alchemy are blurred as the diagrams ‘anatomizing’ his hieroglyphic sign (the ‘Monad’) are seen as revealing truths about alchemical substances and processes.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > English and Humanities
    Depositing User: Stephen Clucas
    Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 13:03
    Last Modified: 11 Aug 2018 00:10
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/19502

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