John Gower's Alchemical Afterlife in Elias Ashmole's "Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum" (1652).

Author/Editor
Runstedler, Curtis.

Title
John Gower's Alchemical Afterlife in Elias Ashmole's "Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum" (1652).

Published
Runstedler, Curtis. "John Gower's Alchemical Afterlife in Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652)." Neophilologus, 23 July, 2019, n.p. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11061-019-09619-4.

Review
Runstedler explores "the ways in which Gower's alchemy was received by early modern readers in literary and alchemical traditions." He describes Gower's presentation of alchemy in Book IV of the “Confessio Amantis” and Elias Ashmole's commentary on Book IV in “Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum,” focusing on the philosophical and moral emphases of the practice in both works, and arguing that Ashmole decontextualizes Book IV, reproduces some sixteenth-century notions of Gower, and, as a result, misinterprets Gower as an "alchemical master." Runstedler outlines the withering of Gower's poetic reputation in the sixteenth century, identifies similarities between Gower's views on alchemy and Thomas Norton's in the “Ordinall of Alchemy” (1477), and maintains that Ashmole's work reflects Gower's high reputation as a practicing alchemist and as Chaucer's "mentor" in the science. [MA. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 38.2.]

Date
2019

Gower Subjects
Influence and Later Allusion
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations