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Albertus Magnus and the Queen of the Elves: A 15th-Century English Verse Dialogue on Alchemy
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2004 (English)In: Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie, Vol. 122, no 4, 640-662 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents an edition of a Middle English verse tract on alchemy based on Trinity College, Cambridge, MS R. 14. 44 (15th century). The tract, entitled ”Semita Recta Albertus peribet testimonium”, is structured as a dialogue between Albertus Magnus, the famous medieval scholar (c. 1200–1280), and Elchyell, the Queen of the Elves. In the dialogue, Elchyell instructs Albertus on how to produce an alchemical elixir that will produce silver or gold. Besides presenting the edition, this article also places the dialogue in the tradition of alchemical and scientific writing in Middle English. I argue that, as in the case of many other alchemical texts of the period, the author of this tract uses Albertus and the setting of the poem to bestow dignity and credibility on the text. Furthermore, it is shown that the tract exploits several presentation strategies common in other alchemical and scientific texts, such as the verse medium, the dialogue format, the recipe structure and coded language. However, I also demonstrate that this text appears to be unique in the way it utilizes and combines these presentation strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 122, no 4, 640-662 p.
Keyword [en]
Albertus Magnus, Trinity College Cambridge MS R. 14. 44, alchemy, dialogue, verse, vernacularization
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-83790OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-83790DiVA: diva2:111698
Available from: 2006-11-09 Created: 2006-11-09 Last updated: 2011-01-12

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