Download Alchemical mercury : a theory of ambivalence by Karen Pinkus PDF

By Karen Pinkus

How will we account, in a rigorous method, for alchemy's ubiquity? we expect of alchemy because the transformation of a base fabric (usually lead) into gold, yet "alchemy" is a be aware in vast flow in way of life, known as upon to satisfy a metaphoric accountability because the magical transformation of fabrics. nearly each tradition and time has had a few kind of alchemy. This ebook seems at alchemy, no longer at anyone specific example alongside the historic timeline, no longer as a tradition or concept, no longer as a style of redemption, yet as a theoretical challenge, associated with genuine gold and genuine construction on the earth. What emerges because the least universal denominator or "intensive estate" of alchemy is ambivalence, the very unlikely and paradoxical coexistence of 2 incompatible components. Alchemical Mercury strikes from antiquity, in the course of the golden age of alchemy within the Dutch 17th century, to conceptual paintings, to replacement fuels, preventing to imagine with writers resembling Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this can be the 1st learn to think about alchemy on the subject of literary and visible concept in a finished way.

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But perhaps it is already incorrect to speak of “insertion” as if the scene existed in some real spatiotemporal dimension, onto which the emblems are merely stuck (or better, etched) like so many appliqués. Could one say that the moral content associated with emblematics is always already inherent in the very conception of the everyday? The assumption that the foreground scene represents “life” and the framed background scene represents a static, lifeless moral, may indeed appear obvious given what we know of generic conventions surrounding depictions of alchemy; that is, it is an assumption that could achieve wide consensus among interpreters.

13 Form and figures are so fused that, as the narrator notes, “I thought they [the homunculi] were meer christal” (204). Read against the background of this iconology and Paracelsian material immateriality, Dou’s painting provides a symbolic matrix in which painting and alchemy find themselves absolutely intertwined around the clarity of the glass. The clear glass as womb is the place of alchemical transformation, and sometimes it is the material of the transformation itself— that is, the glass is not simply a container.

Filippo Lippi, Annunciation and Predella with Scenes from the Life of Saint Nicholas (attributed to Pesellino), 1440. S. Lorenzo, Florence, Italy. Photo credit: Scala / Art Resource, NY. 48 Visibilia in a manner analogous to the way light passes uncontaminated through a transparent medium” (Meiss 105). Later, Paracelsus wrote of the vessel in his Coelum philosophorum: All things are concealed in all. One of them all is the concealer of the rest— their corporeal vessel, external, visible, and movable.

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