New publication: Alchemical transmutation and economic value in the seventeenth century

Self-promotion alert! (But if I don't tell you, who will?) I'm happy to say that a piece I wrote on two seventeenth-century scientific projectors, Gabriel Plattes (c.1600-44) and William Petty (1623-87), has at long last come out as a chapter in the large volume shown at left. My contribution looks at how Plattes and Petty … Continue reading New publication: Alchemical transmutation and economic value in the seventeenth century

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The Ambivalent Alchemist’s Guide to History: Or, Why Gabriel Plattes Matters

"But if you look at the history, modern chemistry only starts coming in to replace alchemy around the same time capitalism really gets going. Strange, eh? What do you make of that?" Webb nodded agreeably. "Maybe capitalism decided it didn't need the old magic anymore." An emphasis whose contempt was not meant to escape Merle's … Continue reading The Ambivalent Alchemist’s Guide to History: Or, Why Gabriel Plattes Matters

The Great Alchemist Bragadini

[Update: My post scratches the surface, but there's a much more thorough and detailed exploration of Bragadini's earlier career here, for anyone interested.] Like magic, astrology, and other endeavours now found in the "occult" section (it's in the back, just follow the patchouli scent), alchemy can be hard for non-occultists to take seriously. On the other hand, early modern alchemy has … Continue reading The Great Alchemist Bragadini