Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Nicolas Flamel: Des Livres et De L'or

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Nicolas Flamel: Des Livres et De L'or

Article excerpt

Nigel Wilkins, Nicolas Flamel: Des livres et de l'or (Paris: Editions Imago, 1993)· 187 pp. ISBN 2-902702-77-9. F. Fr. 120.

This book will come as a considerable disappointment to what Nigel Wilkins calls the 'alchimistes': the occult industry which has made such play since the seventeenth century with Nicolas Flamel's alleged mastery of the 'Grand Oeuvre', with his carved memorial in the graveyard of the Innocents, with his reputedly enormous fortune culled, it was said, from his success in transmuting base metals into gold. Wilkins's major success in this nicely illustrated book is to disentangle forgery and legend from sober history and palaeography and to reinstate the respectable Nicolas Flamel, master copyist and calligrapher, and benefactor of a number of Parisian churches. He gives a measured account of the Flamel retrievable from the archives, then turns to what is by far his most interesting facet: the growth of the Flamel legend, which is heavily indebted to 'Pierre Arnauld de la Chevalerie"s publication of what Wilkins, convincingly, sees as the spurious Figures hierogliphiques of 1612; tentatively, and the reasons are perhaps not given in sufficient detail, Wilkins would see this as the pseudonym of Pierre Beraud (pp. 123 ff.). A final chapter - alas rather short - looks at the growth of the Flamel legend from the fifteenth to the twentieth century: I say 'rather short' because Wilkins's tantalizingly broad sweep covers territory which could do with a book to itself (à la Siciliano: Mésaventures posthumes de Maistre Nicolas Flamel? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.