Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Newton the Alchemist$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

William Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174877

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174877.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

Early Modern Alchemical Theory

Early Modern Alchemical Theory

The Cast of Characters

Chapter:
(p.64) Four Early Modern Alchemical Theory
Source:
Newton the Alchemist
Author(s):

William R. Newman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691174877.003.0004

This chapter argues that Newton's belief that metals are not only produced within the earth but also undergo a process of decay, leading to a cycle of subterranean generation and corruption, finds its origin in the close connection between alchemy and mining that developed in central Europe during the early modern period. Alchemy itself acquired a distinct, hylozoic cast that the aurific art had largely lacked in the European Middle Ages. Despite a common scholarly view that holds alchemy to have been uniformly vitalistic, the early modern emphasis on the cyclical life and death of metals was not a monolithic feature of the discipline across the whole of its history, but rather a gift of the miners and metallurgists who worked in shafts and galleries that exhibited to them the marvels of the underground world. The chapter concludes by describing sources used by Newton, such as his favorite chymical writer, Eirenaeus Philalethes, and the pseudonymous early modern author masked beneath the visage of the fourteenth-century scrivener Nicolas Flamel.

Keywords:   Isaac Newton, alchemy, metals, mining, Eirenaeus Philalethes, Nicolas Flamel

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.