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Alchemy discussion forum > Bibliography > New books about alchemy > Zwodniczy ogród błędów. Piśmiennictwo alchemiczne do końca XVIII wieku

Zwodniczy ogród błędów. Piśmiennictwo alchemiczne do końca XVIII wieku
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Paul Ferguson

Joined: Fri Feb 15th, 2008
Posts: 1530
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 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2014 10:46 am
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Rafał T. Prinke (2014), Zwodniczy ogród błędów. Piśmiennictwo alchemiczne do końca XVIII wieku (Monografie z Dziejów Nauki i Techniki, 164) [The deceptive garden of errors. Alchemical writings until the end of the 18th century (Monographs on the History of Science and Technology, 164)], Warszawa: Instytut Historii Nauki im. Ludwika i Aleksandra Birkenmajerów PAN [Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences], PL ISSN: 0077-054X; ISBN: 978-83-87992-84-2; 895 pages (one illustration).

"The deceptive garden of errors is the first systematic and critical presentation of the whole of alchemical literature (along with the iconography accompanying it) and the present state of research on this specific group of sources that was ever written in Polish. In its primary concept, the work is an introduction to alchemical source studies (in the sense of Quellenkunde), devoting much space to questions of dating, authorship, authenticity, and provenience of particular texts and illustrations, covering the polemics and arguments about them, but it also reaches far beyond the narrowly conceived Quellenkunde, presenting a wide background of intellectual, social, religious, as well as political and organisational contexts in which they were created. The chronological scope is defined by the appearance of the idea of metallic transmutation in China and Egypt around the eras and its definitive rejection at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries in Western Europe and Russia, while the criterion that I assumed to set the conceptual limits to the notion of alchemy is the relevance of laboratory practice to that idea. Alchemical writings in the sense assumed by the author include works created by alchemists or for alchemists, but some polemical and satirical texts or factographic sources are also discussed."

NOTE: the whole book is in Polish, with only a brief summary in English available.

Congratulations Rafal.

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Rafal T. Prinke

Joined: Tue Mar 4th, 2008
Location: Poland
Posts: 150
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 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2014 01:40 pm
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Thank you, Paul! Also thanks to Adam for allowing me to use his coloured image on the cover. The book was published by a respectable publisher -- Institute for the History of Science, Polish Academy of Sciences -- but as they had no funds for publishing it earlier than in two years' time, I had to cover the printing costs and now have part of the print run to sell, so that I may recover part of the costs. The book is in Polish but if anyone knows of a library that might be interested in buying it, I shall be obliged.

The table of contents (should be mostly obvious without ability to read Polish) and a short summary in English at the back of the book are available in PDF at the provisional website quoted by Paul:

Last edited on Sun Sep 14th, 2014 01:41 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

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