Verse and Transmutation
Anke Timmermann
Literature & Fiction
Verse and Transmutation

Identifies and investigates a corpus of twenty-one anonymous Middle English recipes for the philosophers' stone dating from the fifteenth century. Verse and Transmutation: A Corpus of Middle English Alchemical Poetry identifies and investigates a corpus of twenty-one anonymous recipes for the philosophers’ stone dating from the fifteenth century. These were circulated and received in association with each other until the mid-seventeenth century, when a number of them appeared in Elias Ashmole’s Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. These editions are the first to make this previously unidentified corpus available to researchers. The accompanying studies discover the complex histories of these alchemica, in plain and illuminated manuscripts, as anonyma and in attribution to famous authors, and in private and institutional, medical and academic book collections. Together, they offer novel insights into the role of alchemy and poetry in late medieval and early modern England. This title was made Open Access by libraries from around the world through Knowledge Unlatched.

List of Tables, Diagrams and Figures
Naming Conventions
1. Defining a Corpus:penalty -@M The Scope of Historical Materials Considered
2. Writing History Through the Lives of Texts: An Alternative Approach
3. Reading this Book: A Brief Guide
Chapter One. Introduction to a Corpus of Middle English Alchemical Poetry
1. Alchemical Poetry in Late Medieval England
2. The Corpus Around the "Verses upon the Elixir"
2.1. The "Verses upon the Elixir"
2.2. Texts Associated with the "Verses upon the Elixir"
Chapter Two. The Corpus around the "Verses upon the Elixir": Origins, Patterns and Peculiarities
1. The Corpus Around the "Verses upon the Elixir" in Fifteenth-Century Manuscripts
2. Textual Variation and Corpus Connections
2.1. Structural Adaptation
2.2. Text Variation in Poetry
2.3. Interphraseology
3. Interpreting Scribal Variations
4. Coda: Copyists and Collectors in the Corpus Around the "Verses upon the Elixir"
Chapter Three. Authorship, Authority and Alchemical Verse
1. Medieval Authorship and {Alchemica}
2. Attributing the "Verses upon the Elixir"
3. Translations: Language, Genre and Authority
3.1. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "Alumen de Hispania" in English Verse
3.2. "Terra Terrae Philosophicae": The "Verses upon the Elixir" in Neo-Latin Prose
Chapter Four. The Ripley Scrolls: Alchemical Poetry, Images and Authority
1. Poems and Pretty Pictures: Introduction to the Ripley Scrolls
2. Illuminated Scrolls vs. Plain Codices: The Copyist's Dilemma
3. Named Authorities, the Ripley Scrolls and the Corpus Around the "Verses upon the Elixir"
Chapter Five. Alchemical Poetry and Academia: Manuscripts as Chronicles of Scholarly Enquiry
1. Trinity College Cambridge MS R.14.56 and the Libraries of Sixteenth-Century Cambridge
2. The Margins of Knowledge: Books and Commonplacing in Tudor England
3. Alchemy Annotated
3.1. Conversations in the Margins: Marginalia in Trinity College Cambridge MS R.14.56
3.2. Reading Annotations as Historical Records
Chapter Six. Alchemical Verse and the Organisation of Knowledge
1. The Sloane Notebooks: Medicine and the Corpus Around the "Verses upon the Elixir"
1.1. Introduction to the Notebook Series
1.2. The Compiler
2. Notebooks as Virtual Libraries
2.1. Medica
2.2. Alchemica
2.3. Contemporary Libraries as a Source of Notebook Knowledge
2.4. Libraries and Laboratory Knowledge
3. The Organisation of Thought in the Notebook Series
3.1. The Order of Medicine
3.2. The Arrangement of Alchemical Information
Concluding Thoughts
Preface to the Editions
1. Abbreviations Used in the Critical Apparatus
2. Notes on the Stemmata
1. "Verses upon the Elixir"
NIMEV 3249
1.1. "Verses upon the Elixir": Version A
1.2. "Verses upon the Elixir": Version B
2. "Boast of Mercury"
NIMEV 1276
2.1. "Boast of Mercury": Version A
2.2. "Boast of Mercury": Version B
3. "Mystery of Alchemists"
NIMEV 4017
3.1. "Mystery of Alchemists"
4. "Liber Patris Sapientiae"
NIMEV 1150.3
4.1. "Liber Patris Sapientiae"
5. "Exposition"
NIMEV 2666
5.1. "Exposition"
6. "Wind and Water"
NIMEV 3257
6.1. "Wind and Water": Version A
6.2. "Wind and Water": Version B
7. "Richard Carpenter's Work"
NIMEV 2656; 3255.7 ("Father Phoebus"); 1558/1438 ("God Angel")
7.1. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "Spain"
7.2. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "Titan Magnesia"
7.3. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "God Angel"
7.4. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "Sun"
7.5. "Richard Carpenter's Work": "Father Phoebus"
8. "Short Work"
NIMEV 3721
8.1. "Short Work": Version A
8.2. "Short Work": Version B
8.3. "Short Work": Version C
9. Texts from the Ripley Scroll
NIMEV 2688.7 ("On the ground"); 1561.7 ("In the sea"); 1364.5 ("I shall you tell")
9.1. "On the ground"
9.2. "In the sea"
9.3. "I shall you tell"
10. "Trinity"
NIMEV 1558.5
10.1. "Trinity"
Prose Texts
1. "Alumen de Hispania"
Relation to the "Verses upon the Elixir"
Manuscripts Latin
Manuscripts English
Not Seen
Printed Versions
1.1. "Alumen de Hispania"
2. "Lead"
Relation to the "Verses upon the Elixir"
2.1. "Lead"
3. "Thomas Hend"
Relation to the "Verses upon the Elixir"
3.1. "Thomas Hend"
4. "Terra Terrae Philosophicae"
Relation to the "Verses upon the Elixir"
Manuscripts Latin
Manuscript English
Manuscript French
Not Seen (all Latin)
Printed Versions
4.1. "Terra Terrae Philosophicae"
1. List of Manuscripts
2. Handlist of Manuscript Witnesses
Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria
Boston, MA, Massachusetts Historical Society
Bristol, Clifton College
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum
Cambridge, King's College
Cambridge, St John's College
Cambridge, Trinity College
Cambridge, University Library
Chartres, Bibliotheque de la Ville
Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibliotek
Dublin, Trinity College
Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians
Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale
Glasgow, University Library
Jerusalem, Jewish National and University Library
Kassel, Landesbibliothek
London, British Library
London, Lambeth Palace, Sion College
London, Lincoln's Inn
London, Wellcome Institute
Manchester, Rylands Library
New Haven, CT, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Oxford, Bodleian Library
Oxford, Corpus Christi College
Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale
Petworth, Petworth House
Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania
Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Library
San Marino, CA, Huntington Library
Santa Monica, CA, Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities
Vienna, –sterreichische Nationalbibliothek
3. Secondary Literature
3.1. Bibliographies, Catalogues and Dictionaries
3.2. Primary Sources
3.3. Works Cited & Literature
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