5 Non-Fiction Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR

The Experimental Fire: Inventing English Alchemy, 1300-1700 [2020] by Jennifer M. Rampling

Alchemy is the art of manipulating life, and consciousness in matter, to help it
evolve, or to solve problems of inner disharmonies
“. Jean Dubuis

I had discovered, early in my researches, that [alchemists’] doctrine was no mere chemical fantasy, but a philosophy they applied to the world, to the elements, and to man himself”. William Butler Yeats, Rosa Alchemica

Alchemy, an ancient, mysterious practice of transmuting base metals and finding the Elixir of Life, is a fascinating subject to read about, and I previously talked about alchemy in art. This new book traces the history of alchemy in England from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, illuminating “the role of alchemical reading and experimental practice in the broader context of national and scientific history“. The great thing abut this book is that Jennifer Rampling uses “new manuscript sources” to support her arguments, and emphasises “how English alchemy was continually [reinventing itself] over the space of four centuries, resulting in changes to the science...”

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