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 expect of alchemy because the transformation of a base fabric (usually lead) into gold, yet "alchemy" is a be aware in extensive move in daily life, 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 e-book seems to be at alchemy, now not at anybody specific example alongside the old timeline, now not as a tradition or conception, no longer as a style of redemption, yet as a theoretical challenge, associated with actual gold and genuine creation on the planet. What emerges because the least universal denominator or "intensive estate" of alchemy is ambivalence, the most unlikely and paradoxical coexistence of 2 incompatible parts. Alchemical Mercury strikes from antiquity, during the golden age of alchemy within the Dutch 17th century, to conceptual paintings, to replacement fuels, preventing to imagine with writers comparable to Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this can be the 1st research to contemplate alchemy in terms of literary and visible conception in a entire method.

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Photo credit: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz / Art Resource, NY. 8 In a number of treatises from the fifteenth century, aqua fortis refers to a highly acidic liquid (perhaps nitric acid) that is capable of dissolving all metals except gold. In 1514, the year of his “master engravings,” Dürer also began experimenting with new techniques. In this regard, etching, the wearing away of a plate by toxic liquid to yield (golden) images, stands as a compromise between the desire of the father that the son should continue in his tradition (working with gold) and the deviation chosen by the son (working with images, exchanged for capital).

The associative, explanatory function of the ancillary view reflects its heritage in medieval and Renaissance narrative expansion” (46). Initially, then, it may seem that the Gallé etching contradicts Lairesse’s notion of temporality in that the background scene apparently takes place after the foreground scene. That the family goes to the poorhouse after attempting alchemy is not what is important so much as that this secondary scene, or bywerk, clarifies the status of alchemy, like a cannonball that “scatters everything in its path” and resolves the entire composition.

The sovereign decides on the proportion of gold and silver in any monetary system, just as he guarantees the value of coins. Similarly, it is the sovereign who must take charge of overseeing mining. ” The sovereign is outside of the law (he can declare the value of currency only as he does not engage with it in exchange), but he is also inside the law, lawful. The picture of the sovereign is often inscribed on coins to Introduction: Lead into Gold 29 signify that he guarantees value and takes on the fiduciary responsibility of coinage.

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