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George Ripley's Compound of Alchemy (New)
by Linden, Stanton J.
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Company
Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket
Book ID: 9780754601050, 0754601056
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Biographical details for George Ripley (c.1415–c.1490), one of England’s best-known alchemical authorities, are sketchy, but he is known to have travelled widely on the Continent in search of alchemical wisdom. Whilst a canon regular at the Augustinian priory at Bridlington in Yorkshire, he conducted alchemical experiments and wrote widely on the subject. Ripley's popular alchemical poem, The Compound of Alchemy, has survived in many manuscript versions, was first printed in 1591 with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth, and prompted many explications and commentaries during the two centuries following Ripley's death. Originally dedicated by Ripley to King Edward IV, the poem figures the King as a kind of alchemical aspirant who, having received instructions from Ripley, his alchemical master, is enabled to glimpse the arcane secrets of the art. The Compound of Alchemy is not only a treatise concerning mastery of the twelve stages of the alchemical process leading to the philosopher’s stone, it is also a work of poetry composed in rhyme royal stanzas.
This modern critical edition is based on the full text of the 1591 printed edition and is preceded by an introduction containing a chronology of Ripley’s life, a survey of manuscripts, an analysis of the 1591 printed edition and its cultural context, and an examination of the ways in which Ripley’s aims and objectives are closely linked to the work's verse format. The edition also contains a commentary, bibliography, index, and illustrations.
Stanton J. Linden is Professor of English at Washington State University, where he teaches courses in Renaissance literature. His latest books are Emblems and Alchemy (1999), a co-edited collection of essays, and Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration (1996). He edits the journal Cauda Pavonis: Studies in Hermeticism, and is currently preparing a collection of primary source readings, The Alchemy Reader: From Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton.
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