Works and Weeks

I have wanted for a long time to understand Paracelsus better. Finally getting the opportunity in developing a paper on Bacon, Timothy Bright (1551-1615) and the anonymous iatrochemical tract Philiatros (1615) for the upcoming Scientiae conference. Anyway, having read some of Pagel and Debus, high-water mark for me has up to this point been Charles Webster’s Paracelsus: Medicine, Magic and Mission at the End of Time (Yale 2008). I found this book fantastically informative, if somewhat plodding and shapeless. But now, in the course of a more systematic review of the literature, I have finally come upon Andrew Weeks’s Paracelsus: Speculative Theory and the Crisis of the Early Reformation (Albany 1997) and it is absolutely brilliant! So clear, so thesis-driven, so beautifully written and illuminating! Looking back at Webster, I find that he cites Weeks, once, dismissively, yet not substantively, and then calls him “Geoffrey Weeks” in the index! WTF, mensch?

Author: JD Fleming

I am Professor of English Literature at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. My work is in intellectual history of the early-modern period (1500-1700), with a special interest in epistemic issues around the emergence of modern natural science (the "Scientific Revolution"). In 2012, I initiated the international conference series "Scientiae: Disciplines of Knowing in the Early Modern World."

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