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Rafal T. Prinke
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I have just noticed on Lawrence Principe's CV:
http://www.aihs-iahs.org/en/system/files/principe_lawrence.pdf
a new title listed as to be published this year:
The Secrets of Alchemy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2011)
There seems to be no "forthcoming" section on the UCP website, so I wonder if anyone knows the publication date?


Last edited on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 10:14 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Paul Ferguson
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I don't, but I spotted this:

"Principe’s lectures on “The Secrets of Alchemy” will be published in 2009 by the OSU Press as the second volume in the Horning Visiting Scholars Publication Series."

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2008/Mar08/alchemy.html

I assume this is the same text.

Last edited on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 02:56 pm by Paul Ferguson

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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So is this the book that has information about the experiments replicating possible recipes of Ripleys?  Books are always easier for non-academics like myself to get hold of, and I've been wanting to read about them for ages. 

Rafal T. Prinke
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Thanks Paul! It certainly wasn't published by OSU -- maybe for some reason the publisher was changed but it seems to be the same book.

Alexander -- from Paul's message/finding it seems it will be based on his lectures in Oregon and elsewhere (I also find Utrecht).

Last edited on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 10:02 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Paul Ferguson
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Alexander Guthrie Stewart wrote:
So is this the book that has information about the experiments replicating possible recipes of Ripleys?  Books are always easier for non-academics like myself to get hold of, and I've been wanting to read about them for ages. 

There's a new Principe video on this theme but unfortunately it's behind the AAAS paywall:

http://membercentral.aaas.org/multimedia/videos/ancient-practice-alchemy-can-be-replicated-todays-lab

I used to have AAAS membership but let it lapse :o(

Alan Pritchard
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This from OSU Press:

"OSU Press did intend to publish this book as part of the Horning series; however, the author withdrew his manuscript. I don’t have any information about whether it has been or will be published elsewhere"

Rafal T. Prinke
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I have new information about the book, direct from Lawrence Principe:
The book is currently in the very last stages of revision, and will be published by the University of Chicago Press either late this year or early in 2012. The book covers the history of alchemy from Graeco-Egyptian Late Antiquity down to the start of the 20th century.

It sounds really exciting!

Last edited on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 10:23 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Carl Lavoie
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.

The book is currently in the very last stages of revision, and will be published by the University of Chicago Press either late this year or early in 2012.

 

 

It has been pushed back to 2012. See the last line of the biography section.

 

By the way, he was lecturing in Malibu last week on Zosime. I wonder if now that the book is in press, he will go 'on tour'.

 

http://www.getty.edu/museum/programs/lectures/alchemys_origins_lecture.html

 

.

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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Whoops, I should have mentioned that he said it would be out next year at the Cambridge conference.  I can't recall the month either, sorry. 

Rafal T. Prinke
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Actually, he told me it should be out in the first quarter of the year -- if I remember correctly.
BTW: it was nice meeting you in the real world, Alexander, even if there was no time for a longer conversation!

Paul Ferguson
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There!

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo12335123.html

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Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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Ah ha, finally.  I had a dig for it a few weeks ago, couldn't find it then. 

adammclean
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It is on amazon.com  and amazon.co.uk  with a publication date of November 9, 2012.

Paul Ferguson
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adammclean wrote:
It is on amazon.com  and amazon.co.uk  with a publication date of November 9, 2012.



"Lawrence M. Principe’s survey is not just reliable and engaging but an essential corrective to the many depictions that romanticize, misdirect, or muddy our view of what alchemy was about."

"The Secrets of Alchemy is an eminently lucid treatment of a tenebrous subject, at once learned and reader-friendly, and enormously winning."

Tantalising stuff!!!

Rafal T. Prinke
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I have just received a nessage from Amazon saying:

Your Amazon.com order of "The Secrets of Alchemy (Sy..." has shipped!"

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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Yay!

Please let us know how it is, how much practical alchemy is in it, etc. 

I especially want to know how it fares as a general history of Alchemy.  Principe and his collaborators have some specific points of interest and views and I expect that to come out quite clearly.  We have needed a good up to date general history of alchemy for a while, and Maxwell-Stuarts book wasn't quite good enough.  (although I did give it 3 stars on amazon)

Paul Ferguson
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Price seems very reasonable:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Alchemy-Synthesis-Lawrence-Principe/dp/0226682951/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351137843&sr=1-1

http://www.libreriauniversitaria.it/secrets-alchemy-lawrence-principe-university/book/9780226682952

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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You're right, that is ridiculously cheap for a hardcover. 

Rafal T. Prinke
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I will obviously let everyone know more details when it arrives -- but it may take some time depending on  whether it is dispatched from the US or from their warehouse in Germany. If the latter, I should have it next week, otherwise it may take up to 5 weeks.

I thought the book is subtitled "Synthesis" but now see it is the series title. But it will be a synthesis anyway and certainly one that will need to be taken into account for many years to come (even by those who tend to see things differently than the New Historiography of Chymistry). I agree with Alexander that "Maxwell-Stuart's book wasn't just good enough" -- even though he used much of the recent research, I had a feeling it was not "deep" enough.

The publisher's website also says there will be an e-book edition, so the price may be still lower (but not stated how much lower).



Last edited on Thu Oct 25th, 2012 09:49 am by Rafal T. Prinke

Laura OKeefe
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I'm a librarian; Principe's Secrets of Alchemy is sitting on my desk now, in the process of being cataloged.  The publication date given on the title page verso is 2013!--obviously, it's arrived a little sooner than that.

While I'm very new to this field, this book looks to my untutored eye like a good scholarly overview/synthesis of the history of alchemy for a general audience.

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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Today, whilst trying to tidy up wikipedia*, in the Geber entry I found a link to Principe's book for a summary of the geber/ Jabir issue.  I realised quite a few people likely got their copy a little early...

 

And welcome Laura O'Keefe. 

 

 

* I've had some use of it over the years, I feel I may as well put a bit back into it and boy do my specialist areas need it. 

Laura OKeefe
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Alexander Guthrie Stewart wroteAnd welcome Laura O'Keefe.
Thank you!  Happy to be here.

Last edited on Fri Oct 26th, 2012 08:43 pm by Laura OKeefe

Rafal T. Prinke
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The book has arrived today! It looks really nice and knowing the excellent style of writing (and speaking) of the author from his other publications, I am looking forward to reading it. It is indeed a synthesis, covering Western alchemy but excluding Chinese and Indian for reasons explained in the introduction. An interesting rhetorical construction applied by Principe is following the topic chronologically up to the end of the Middle Ages and then jumping to the Englightenement and continuing to the most recent esoteric and other developments, only then to return to the "golden age" of the 16th and 17th centuries. Strange as it may look, perhaps it will prove to be a good decision -- I'll see when I read it.

Being a synthesis, it cannot discuss anything in depth -- but there are extensive references to relevant studies (36 pages of endnotes and 20 pages of bibliography).

Fragments from four publishers' reviews on the back cover are enthusiastic -- especially Bruce Moran says "This is a terrific book, absolutely essential for anyone interested in a historical understanding of alchemical theory and practice. [...] There is no other book on alchemy like this". And Tara Nummedal stresses the author's "characteristic erudition, wit, and lucid prose".

I confirm that my copy (like that reported by Laura) says it is Copyright 2013 -- which I don't think may be taken to mean that for the remaining two month of 2012 it is in Public Domain :D

Paul Ferguson
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New Scientist blog calls it 'dazzling':

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/11/the-true-story-of-alchemy.html

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And, very belatedly, as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Laura OKeefe
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Alan Pritchard wrote: ... as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Thank you, Alan!  I hope this means that I may occasionally pester you with questions about subject headings, obscure printers, &c.  I've just begun cataloging a sizable collection of 16th and 17th-century books, many of which have to do with alchemy, and am finding it rough sledding.

Johann Plattner
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I received my personal copy approximately two or three weeks ago, however I had pre-ordered my copy via Amazon.com already in January of this year. Meanwhile I’m more than half-through of the book and I have to say that much of its content isn’t quite novel and could frequently be discovered within his earlier publications but also in different publications. For me, one of the most interesting subjects is his extraordinary explanation of one of the ‘Twelve Keys’ wherein the volatilization of the salt of gold (AuCl3) is described by Basil Valentine. Lawrence Principe actually could demonstrate that this process will really work if the necessary main condition will be fulfilled: The saturation of gaseous chlorine (Cl2) that is continually generated in the flask during the thermal decomposition of the salt of gold. A modern chemist would say that the thermodynamics equilibration needs to be shifted to the right side of the formula and thus indeed the residual chloride of gold sublimes like beautiful flowers to the top of the flask without beeing decomposed.

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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I now have a copy.  It is somewhat idiosyncratic in terms of it's layout and more so on the topics covered.  You can tell that Principe is an expert on post-medieval and early modern alchemy.

I was worried that a general reader would find it a bit hard going, after I glanced at a little of it and remembering Principe's previous works, but it is alright. 

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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I've now finished the book.  It is bang up to date (one reference being to something that will apparently be published in 2014) and includes a surprising number of references I haven't seen before.

Unlike some people I don't have a problem with the structure.  He also wisely doesn't go into too much detail on earlier periods such as Graeoco-Roman Egypt, possibly because they are not his specialist periods and the information from them is less definite.  What he does is summarise the important things to know, and he does so well.  I agree with the vast majority of what he has written and think that this is exactly the kind of synthesis of a book that we needed in order to make public the advances in the last 30 years of research. 

 

I have a wee quibble - I didn't like the inclusion of the stuff about Diocletian's alleged actions against gold makers, partly because it is one of those things of which there's no contemporary evidence yet you'd think there would be if it was real. 

And more importantly, he still doesn't tell us everything about his methods.  Not all the secrets revealed by any means.  Anyone wishing to re-create what he has worked on will be disappointed. 

But these are very minor issues. 

Paul Ferguson
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For those who wish to sample it before buying a preview is now available on Google Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=cs9_mXyN0OsC&dq=alchemy&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Paul Ferguson
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Laura OKeefe wrote:
Alan Pritchard wrote: ... as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Thank you, Alan!  I hope this means that I may occasionally pester you with questions about subject headings, obscure printers, &c.  I've just begun cataloging a sizable collection of 16th and 17th-century books, many of which have to do with alchemy, and am finding it rough sledding.


This has jogged my memory about the Beautiful Libraries site which has been updated and has moved:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librophiliac-love-letter-revised-edition

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Thanks, Paul. A lovely site. I wish I had managed to work in some of them. A lot of my professional life was spent in a converted tea warehouse in Aldgate.

At least I worked on my bibliography in the old British Library reading room & I spent many happy hours with an illustrated Ashmole in the Bodelian in 1961.

I also liked the old Patent Office library (http://www.archimage.co.uk/patent_library.htm). Not quite as elaborate as the Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, but on the same lines. Spent many days in there when at library school & later.

There was a Swedish company that published a calenday of Renaissance libraries, but I think that has ceased.

Paul Ferguson
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Alan Pritchard wrote:
Thanks, Paul. A lovely site. I wish I had managed to work in some of them. A lot of my professional life was spent in a converted tea warehouse in Aldgate.

At least I worked on my bibliography in the old British Library reading room & I spent many happy hours with an illustrated Ashmole in the Bodelian in 1961.

I also liked the old Patent Office library (http://www.archimage.co.uk/patent_library.htm). Not quite as elaborate as the Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, but on the same lines. Spent many days in there when at library school & later.

There was a Swedish company that published a calenday of Renaissance libraries, but I think that has ceased.


That would be Stjernvall:

http://www.cultivate-int.org/issue2/calendar/index.html

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That's the one, Paul.

I think that SSIM are no longer in business.

I managed to find some information on the Internet Archive. Search for http://www.renaissancelibrary.com

Gunnel Stjernvall is still around. She is Assistant Librarian at Solna C, as well as being on social media sites.

I might contact her & see if she has any calendars left.

Paul Ferguson
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Alan Pritchard wrote:
That's the one, Paul.

I think that SSIM are no longer in business.

I managed to find some information on the Internet Archive. Search for http://www.renaissancelibrary.com

Gunnel Stjernvall is still around. She is Assistant Librarian at Solna C, as well as being on social media sites.

I might contact her & see if she has any calendars left.


Shame.

Images (albeit very tiny ones) from the 2005 calendar here:

http://www.associates.ucr.edu/1104back.htm

I suppose an Alchemical Images calendar would have a big sale and might help promote Adam's website and Magnum Opus series? How about it Adam?

adammclean
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I recently wrote a short piece for the Ritman Library Blog
referring to Principe's book.

http://www.ritmanlibrary.com/2013/02/lawrence-principe-takes-basilius-valentinus-to-the-laboratory/

Paul Ferguson
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
Laura OKeefe wrote:
Alan Pritchard wrote: ... as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Thank you, Alan!  I hope this means that I may occasionally pester you with questions about subject headings, obscure printers, &c.  I've just begun cataloging a sizable collection of 16th and 17th-century books, many of which have to do with alchemy, and am finding it rough sledding.


This has jogged my memory about the Beautiful Libraries site which has been updated and has moved:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librophiliac-love-letter-revised-edition


Some private ones here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/luxuryhomes/9931135/Homes-with-envy-inspiring-libraries.html

My favourite is no. 7, just the right setting for that collection of Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks...

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Nice collection, Paul.

Several remind me of my son's bookshelves. Flat in Bath. Not sure of the width, but 15ft high, floor to ceiling, with a ladder.

Paul Ferguson
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Alan Pritchard wrote:
Nice collection, Paul.

Several remind me of my son's bookshelves. Flat in Bath. Not sure of the width, but 15ft high, floor to ceiling, with a ladder.


Good for him, but what of the future...?

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Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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It depends how far in the future you want to go, but SHAC are producing translations of alchemical texts and are printing them up, not going straight for e-reader etc. 

The link to Principe is that I asked about modern technology such as e-books and print on demand at the meeting on Saturday and the replies indicated that they had thought about them, but for various reasons which I can't recall now, books were the way to go for now. 

 

 

Paul, many of those libraries are pretty, but too small!

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Just going through some of my older messages.

Taschen published 1 calendar for 1998 based on Alexander Roob's book. Have not come across any other years. Picked this up from eBay

"Page-a-day desk calendar in a plastic holder with slightly less than 365 illustrations (1 page only for 2 days at weekends), many full color, taken from a range of texts and art works dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Includes 3pp. of notes about alchemy by Alexander Roob"

They also issued a Alchemy & mysticism: postcard book with 30 postcards

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So it was that long ago! I bought the calendar and book of postcards as well as the book itself, in the English translation. All very well produced: the book was printed in Italy, the cards in Singapore. I don't know about the calendar, though I still have it somewhere (at least the separate pages and the box they came in.)

Paul Ferguson
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Haven't found an English version of this video unfortunately but it's quite amusing if you know Spanish or French:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_uaI28LGJk

Paul Ferguson
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
Laura OKeefe wrote:
Alan Pritchard wrote: ... as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Thank you, Alan!  I hope this means that I may occasionally pester you with questions about subject headings, obscure printers, &c.  I've just begun cataloging a sizable collection of 16th and 17th-century books, many of which have to do with alchemy, and am finding it rough sledding.


This has jogged my memory about the Beautiful Libraries site which has been updated and has moved:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librophiliac-love-letter-revised-edition


Another one for the list of beautiful libraries?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2404834/Library-Birmingham-Europes-largest-public-library-set-open-matter-days.html

Paul Ferguson
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
Laura OKeefe wrote:
Alan Pritchard wrote: ... as a retired librarian, it is good to see another one here!!!

Alan

Thank you, Alan!  I hope this means that I may occasionally pester you with questions about subject headings, obscure printers, &c.  I've just begun cataloging a sizable collection of 16th and 17th-century books, many of which have to do with alchemy, and am finding it rough sledding.


This has jogged my memory about the Beautiful Libraries site which has been updated and has moved:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librophiliac-love-letter-revised-edition



And now a book along similar lines by a Cambridge architectural historian:

http://tinyurl.com/namyc7p




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