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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Contents

INTRODUCTION Telling Secrets
1
CHAPTER ONE Printing Secrets
9
CHAPTER TWO Roger Bacon Robert Greenes Friar Bacon and the Secrets of Art and Nature
32
CHAPTER THREE Structuring Secrets for Sale
59
Femininity and Feminine Knowledge in Books of Secrets
95
CHAPTER FIVE Secrets Bridled Gentlemen Trained
126
CONCLUSION A Secret by Any Other Name
156
NOTES
161
BIBLIOGRAPHY
187
INDEX
195
back cover
201
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