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The New Middle Ages

Chaucer the Alchemist

Physics, Mutability, and the Medieval Imagination

Authors: Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

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eBook 83,29 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-52391-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54134-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

The secrets of nature's alchemy captivated both the scientific and literary imagination of the Middle Ages. This book explores Chaucer's fascination with earth's mutability. Gabrovsky reveals that his poetry represents a major contribution to a medieval worldview centered on the philosophy of physics, astronomy, alchemy, and logic.

About the authors

Alexander N. Gabrovsky received a PhD in English from Cambridge University, UK.

Reviews

“Alexander N. Gabrovsky’s book is an important study into the role of alchemy and transmutation in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and fourteenth-century scientific thought. … Gabrovsky provides important insights about the relationship between medieval alchemy and physics and how it affects the reading of medieval literature. … the book is especially useful for considering the role of alchemy and science in Chaucer’s works and its impact upon character development and the imagination.” (Curtis Runstedler, Ambix, Vol. 65 (04), September, 2018)


"Gabrovsky's insightful book contributes persuasive new evidence to support Chaucer's Renaissance reputation as a master-alchemist." - Terry Jones, author of Chaucer's Knight and Who Murdered Chaucer

"This is a wonderful and much needed book that responds to recent advances in the history of science and uses them to formulate some striking and provocative readings of Chaucer. Not only does Gabrovsky provide new evidence for the multi-dimensionality of the poet's learning, he also shows us the creativity with which that learning is deployed. Highlights of the book include the alchemical Franklin's Tale, Troilus 'the alembic,' and the discovery of organic decay as a unique sign of 'aliveness.'" - Nicolette Zeeman, Senior Lecturer in English Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

"This remarkable new study of Chaucer's writing is both exciting and impressively learned, informed by the author's knowledge of medieval science at its most complex. Chaucer is shown to be deeply engaged with the metaphysics of change and flux, drawing across his writings on alchemical theory, the science of sound and motion, and more abstract concepts of change related to actual and potential modes of being. Gabrovsky demonstrates persuasively the extent to which Chaucer's writing is imbued with (meta)physical theory, and offers original and sophisticated readings of the dream vision poems, Troilus and Criseyde and "The Franklin's Tale." Familiar texts are opened out and made new, an impressive feat in Chaucer scholarship, while the reader also gains considerable knowledge of medieval physics. The book is fundamentally about transformation: its effects will also be transformative for the reader and for Chaucer studies." - Corinne Saunders, Professor of Medieval Literature, University of Durham, UK

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction: Chaucer’s Sublunar Region of Mutable Forms

    Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

    Pages 3-25

  • Thought Experiments in Geffrey’s Dream: The Poetics of Motus Localis, Measurement, and Relativity in the House of Fame

    Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

    Pages 27-64

  • Alchemical Allegory and Transformative Action in the Franklin’s Tale

    Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

    Pages 67-127

  • “As Licour Out of a Lambyc Ful Faste”: Love and Alchemy in Troilus and Criseyde

    Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

    Pages 129-198

  • Counterfactual Conditionals in the Avian Debate: Ars Obligatoria and Possible Worlds Semantics in the Parliament of Fowls

    Gabrovsky, Alexander N.

    Pages 201-224

Buy this book

eBook 83,29 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-52391-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 103,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54134-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Chaucer the Alchemist
Book Subtitle
Physics, Mutability, and the Medieval Imagination
Authors
Series Title
The New Middle Ages
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-52391-4
DOI
10.1057/9781137523914
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-54134-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIX, 291
Topics