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

Mid-Century Adaptations, or Albedo

Mid-Century Adaptations, or Albedo

Chapter:
(p.103) 4 Mid-Century Adaptations, or Albedo
Source:
The Alchemist in Literature
Author(s):

Theodore Ziolkowski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746836.003.0004

The growing popularity of alchemy as a metaphor led to the adaptation of the alchemist in novels and plays by Hugo, Dumas, and Balzac, in all of which the alchemist’s noble ambition or lust for gold reduces his initial genius to ignominy and ridicule. Similarly, in the Austrian Friedrich Halm’s drama The Adept the alchemist’s obsession with the great secret of nature is misconstrued by society and gradually transformed into a lust for power. Like their French and German contemporaries, Poe and Hawthorne introduced the figure of the alchemist into their stories to show how his initially noble obsession could be perverted and lead to the destruction of those around him and his own dismay. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Mary Anne Atwood, whose personal practice of alchemy produced her remarkable work A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery.

Keywords:   albedo, Mary Anne Atwood, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Honoré de Balzac, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, perverted obsession

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 .