"ffor to make Azure as Albert biddes": Medieval English Alchemical Writings in the Pseudo-Albertan Tradition
2006 (English)In: Ambix: The Journal for the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, Vol. 53, no 1, 21-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The aim of the article is to explore the unresearched body of manuscript texts on alchemy in medieval English (15th-century). More specifically, it is concerned with texts that are commonly attributed to the famous medieval scholar Albertus Magnus. Taking as its starting point the work done by Pearl Kibre on Latin alchemical writings attributed to Albertus, the article shows that the English manuscript texts (some 30) are all related to one text in the Latin corpus, the Semita Recta. (Kibre lists about 30 texts in Latin.) However, the English texts display varying affinities to the Semita Recta: there are literal translations as well as major adaptations, and there are texts that appear to exploit the authority of the Semita Recta for advancing completely unrelated discussions. It is also evident that the early English translators and redactors of alchemical texts were particularly interested in practical aspects of alchemy: many of the texts exhibit an emphasis on practical details, whereas the theoretical parts have been excised. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that although the English manuscripts derive from a pseudo-Albertan text most of them do not contain an overt attribution to Albertus. It is thus unclear whether Albertus’s renown as an alchemist played a significant part in the circulation of the texts in a vernacular context.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 53, no 1, 21-42 p.
Albertus Magnus, alchemical texts, alchemy, Middle English, vernacularization
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-83788OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-83788DiVA: diva2:111696