The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age

The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age

The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age

The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age

Synopsis

It is hard to overestimate the importance of the contribution made by Dame Frances Yates to the serious study of esotericism and the occult sciences. To her work can be attributed the contemporary understanding of the occult origins of much of Western scientific thinking, indeed of Western civilization itself. The Occult Philosophy of the Elizabethan Age was her last book, and in it she condensed many aspects of her wide learning to present a clear, penetrating, and, above all, accessible survey of the occult movements of the Renaissance, highlighting the work of John Dee, Giordano Bruno, and other key esoteric figures. The book is invaluable in illuminating the relationship between occultism and Renaissance thought, which in turn had a profound impact on the rise of science in the seventeenth century. Stunningly written and highly engaging, Yates' masterpiece is a must-read for anyone interested in the occult tradition.

Excerpt

This book has been difficult to write. It was necessary to find an order for the exposition, and, as soon as I began to work on it, about 1975, it became clear that there must be a first part on the history of Christian Cabala, as introduction to the study of the occult philosophy in the Elizabethan age. When this was achieved, the later parts of the book expanded in new directions, some of them quite unexpected by myself. the result is, I hope, a readable exposition of certain trends and movements hitherto quite unexplored in relation to the Elizabethan age, its philosophy, and its poetry. It is only a first attempt at tackling a problem which will take years of further work and thought to solve.

I began to write drafts for chapters of the book in 1975, continuing through 1976 to 1978. the oldest part of the book, that is to say the point on which I first began to work and think, is the chapter on George Chapman's Shadow of Night and the inspired melancholy, as depicted in Dürer's famous Melencolia I engraving. the thought that Dürer's imagery might help to solve

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