Books of Secrets: Natural Philosophy in England, 1550-1600

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University of Illinois Press, Oct 1, 2010 - History - 216 pages
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How cultural categories shaped--and were shaped by--new ideas about controlling nature

Ranging from alchemy to necromancy, "books of secrets" offered medieval readers an affordable and accessible collection of knowledge about the natural world. Allison Kavey's study traces the cultural relevance of these books and also charts their influence on the people who read them. Citing the importance of printers in choosing the books' contents, she points out how these books legitimized manipulating nature, thereby expanding cultural categories, such as masculinity, femininity, gentleman, lady, and midwife, to include the willful command of the natural world.

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INTRODUCTION Telling Secrets
CHAPTER ONE Printing Secrets
CHAPTER TWO Roger Bacon Robert Greenes Friar Bacon and the Secrets of Art and Nature
CHAPTER THREE Structuring Secrets for Sale
Femininity and Feminine Knowledge in Books of Secrets
CHAPTER FIVE Secrets Bridled Gentlemen Trained
CONCLUSION A Secret by Any Other Name
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Page 38 - THE FAMOUS HISTORIE OF FRYER BACON, containing the wonderfull things that he did in his life : also the manner of his death, with the lives and deaths of the two conjurers, Bungye and Vandermast.
Page 168 - GREENES MOURNING GARMENT, given him by Repentance at the Funerals of Love, which he presents for a Favour to all young Gentlemen that wishe to weane themselves from wanton Desires.
Page 31 - England and Europe shall admire thy fame, And Oxford shall in characters of brass, And statues, such as were built up in Rome, Eternize Friar Bacon for his art.
Page 125 - How to chuse, ride, traine, and diet, both Huntinghorses and running Horses. With all the secrets thereto belonging discovered: an Arte never heere-to-fore written by any Author.
Page 168 - A Disputation, Betweene a Hee Conny-catcher, and a Shee Conny-catcher, whether a Theefe or a Whoore, is most hurtfull in Cousonage, to the Common-wealth. Discovering The Secret Villanies of alluring Strumpets. With the Conuersion of an English Courtizen, reformed this present yeare, 7552.
Page 39 - Our old dramatists hardly ever invented the stories of their pieces ; and in this, the most pleasing of his plays, Greene has closely followed the well-known prose-tract, • P. 23, ed. Shake. Soc.
Page 45 - But proud Astmeroth, ruler of the North, And Demegorgon maister of the fates, Grudge that a mortall man should worke so much ; Hell trembled . . . Fiendes frown'd," etc. II. regions under earth] Steevens very pertinently asks, with reference to Singer's ridiculous alteration of the text (to "legions"): "The regions under earth are the infernal regions. Whence else should the sorceress have selected or summoned her fiends ?
Page 41 - And by the help of devils and ghastly fiends, Thou mean'st ere many years or days be past, To compass England with a wall of brass.
Page 62 - popular" can indicate a kind of relation, a way of using cultural products or norms that are shared, more or less, by society at large, but understood, defined, and used in styles that vary. Such an argument evidently changes the work of the historian or sociologist because it requires identifying and distinguishing not cultural sets defined in themselves as popular, but rather the ways in which common cultural sets are appropriated differently. Thus it seems...
Page 163 - The Schoole of Skil : containing two Bookes: The first, of the Sphere, of Heauen, of the Starres, of their Orbes, and of the Earth, &c. The second, of the spherical!

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