Littératures classiques Nº80 (1/2013)
L'anonymat de l'oeuvre (XVIe-XVIIIe siècles)
"In the treatises devoted to the making of the philosophical stone, anonymity often coincides with the desire to relate the secrets of alchemy to a primordial tradition, represented by mythical figures (Hermes, Adam, Tubal-Caïn) or faceless initiates. But this esoteric vision of an impersonal and timeless science needs to be nuanced. In the 17th century, when modern chemistry came into being, alchemy sustained the influence of another conception of knowledge and of its transmission, granting greater importance to the author and to intellectual property. It is possible to see alchemy evolve from that point on towards a new relation to authorship, less interested in anonymity per se than in the development of an art of the mysterious and the occult."