Download Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence by Karen Pinkus PDF

By Karen Pinkus

How will we account, in a rigorous approach, for alchemy's ubiquity? we predict of alchemy because the transformation of a base fabric (usually lead) into gold, yet "alchemy" is a note in huge movement in lifestyle, known as upon to satisfy a metaphoric responsibility because the magical transformation of fabrics. nearly each tradition and time has had a few kind of alchemy. This ebook appears at alchemy, now not at anyone specific example alongside the historic timeline, no longer as a convention or thought, now not as a method of redemption, yet as a theoretical challenge, associated with actual gold and actual construction on the earth. What emerges because the least universal denominator or "intensive estate" of alchemy is ambivalence, the very unlikely and paradoxical coexistence of 2 incompatible parts. Alchemical Mercury strikes from antiquity, throughout the golden age of alchemy within the Dutch 17th century, to conceptual paintings, to replacement fuels, preventing to imagine with writers corresponding to Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is often the 1st examine to think about alchemy in terms of literary and visible concept in a entire manner.

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Extra resources for Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence

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And why should we assume a collective desire for having that dominates over, say, a collective pleasure in economizing? All Rubbish The so-called moralizing subtext is not buried, but rather, quite evident in many depictions of the alchemist. Like the urine-analysis genre, the alchemist in his laboratory is a popular theme in Dutch seventeenthcentury art. In general, various elements of this type engage in “the art of describing [the everyday],” in Svetlana Alpers’s influential terms, and yet 36 Visibilia figure 4.

Based on his accounting of actual painterly practices, Lairesse noted that background or secondary scenes, which generally depict an earlier moment in narrative development, tend to clarify or explain foreground scenes. They may also provide irony, parallels, or resolution to the principal scene. Indeed, the frontispiece to Lairesse’s treatise (Figure 5) can be considered exemplary in that it includes a number of discrete spaces: In the foreground the (blind) painter, Lairesse himself, works, guided by the muse.

One of them all is the concealer of the rest— their corporeal vessel, external, visible, and movable. All liquefactions are manifested in that vessel. For the vessel is a living and corporeal spirit, and so all coagulations or congelations enclosed in it, when prevented from flowing and surrounded, are not therewith content. No name can be found for this liquefaction, by which it may be designated. (Paracelsus 5) He clearly extends the nature of the vessel beyond its materiality, to a potential realm where inside and outside are no longer distinguishable.

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