In the wake of new interest in alchemy as more significant than a bizarre aberration in rational Western European culture, this collection examines both alchemical and medical discourses in the larger context of early modern Europe. How do early scientific discourses infiltrate other cultural domains such as literature, philosophy, court life, and the conduct of households? How do these new contexts deflect scientific pursuits into new directions, and allow a larger participation in the elaboration of scientific methods and perspectives? Might there have been a scientific subculture, particularly surrounding alchemy, which allowed women to participate in scientific pursuits long before they were admitted in an investigative capacity into official academic settings? This volume poses those questions, as a starting point for a broader discussion of scientific subcultures and their relationship to the restructuring and questioning of gender roles.
Kathleen P. Long is Professor of French at Cornell University and the author of Hermaphrodites in Renaissance Europe
'... a rewarding and worthwhile read. ... It represents a significant contribution to a field desperately in need of new scholarship.' Renaissance Quarterly 'A rich collection, worthy of close attention from early modern scholars... provides the reader with significant lessons regarding the collision of gender and early modern scientific enterprise.' Early English Studies 'In undertaking this work, the authors and the editor have taken the rehabilitation work begun by Allen Debus and others to the next stage in what is a brilliant and exciting demonstration of the value of studying alchemical texts.' Parergon 'Many chapters provide interesting clues concerning female authorial identity and authority in early modern medicine and alchemy.' AMBIX ’Readers will find a great deal to engage them across science and medicine, theory and practice, literature, art, travel, political and women’s work, labour and writing to name but a few.’ Social History of Medicine