- Title Pages
- Symbols and Conventions
- Abbreviations for Works Cited
- One The Enigma of Newton’s Alchemy
- Two Problems of Authority and Language in Newton’s Chymistry
- Three Religion, Ancient Wisdom, and Newton’s Alchemy
- Four Early Modern Alchemical Theory
- Five The Young Thaumaturge
- Six Optics and Matter: Newton, Boyle, and Scholastic Mixture Theory
- Seven Newton’s Early Alchemical Theoricae
- Eight Toward a General Theory of Vegetability and Mechanism
- Nine The Doves of Diana
- Ten Flowers of Lead
- Eleven Johann de Monte-Snyders in Newton’s Alchemy
- Twelve Attempts at a Unified Practice
- Thirteen The Fortunes of Raymundus
- Fourteen The Shadow of a Noble Experiment
- Fifteen The Quest for Sophic Sal Ammoniac
- Sixteen Extracting Our Venus
- Seventeen Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, Alchemical Collaborator
- Eighteen Praxis
- Nineteen The Warden of the Mint and His Alchemical Associates
- Twenty Public and Private
- Twenty-One The Ghost of Sendivogius
- Twenty-Two A Final Interlude
- Appendix One The Origin of Newton’s Chymical Dictionaries
- Appendix Two Newton’s “Key to Snyders”
- Appendix Three “Three Mysterious Fires”
- Appendix Four Newton’s Interview with William Yworth
Delusions of a Disordered Mind?
- (p.396) Eighteen Praxis
- Newton the Alchemist
William R. Newman
- Princeton University Press
This chapter focuses on Newton's Praxis, which has been described as his most important alchemical text. A preliminary reading of the text quickly leads one to sympathize with Westfall's claim that it reflects a disordered state of mind. It is not easy, at least initially, to make out the subjects described allusively in each of the first four chapters. Their disjointed snippets and quotations represent Newton's florilegium style at its densest and least approachable. But this is not the product of madness, however temporary. Rather, it is Newton's way of sifting through his sources and reassembling the disparate parts of a great puzzle distributed piecemeal among the diverse sons of art. The very materials that figured in Newton's laboratory notebooks, in his interpretations of Snyders (especially Keynes 58), and in his instructions to Fatio can be found in Praxis.
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