Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Alchemist in LiteratureFrom Dante to the Present$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Theodore Ziolkowski

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746836

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746836.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 March 2021

Romanticizations, or Cauda Pavonis

Romanticizations, or Cauda Pavonis

(p.62) 3 Romanticizations, or Cauda Pavonis
The Alchemist in Literature

Theodore Ziolkowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with examples of alchemical imagery in the poetry of Milton and John Donne as well as religious poets in England, Germany, and the American colonies that provided a transition from the earlier satirizations of the alchemist to the new romanticizations of the figure. Several English works take the figure of the alchemist to provide moralizing examples for the dire social consequences stemming from the pursuit of gold. As a youth Goethe actually practiced alchemy in its medical form of iatrochemy; but by the time he wrote his Faust he had become disenchanted with the Art, presenting it as a corrupting force. His younger contemporary E. T. A. Hoffmann, while similarly criticizing the alchemist for his presumption in tampering with human life in his story “The Sandman,” presented alchemy in “The Golden Pot” as a metaphor for the higher poetic reality toward which his protagonist Anselmus aspires.

Keywords:   cauda pavonis, romanticization, William Godwin, Goethe, Hoffmann, religious metaphors, John Donne, John Milton

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .