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The Queen's Conjurer: The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser… (original 2001; edition 2002)
The Queen's Conjurer: The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser to Queen Elizabeth I by Benjamin Woolley (2001)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0006552021, Paperback)A spellbinding portrait of Queen Elizabeth's conjuror - the great philosopher, scientist and magician, Dr John Dee (1527-1608) and a history of Renaissance science that could well be the next 'Longitude'. John Dee was one of the most influential philosophers of the Elizabethan Age. A close confidant of Queen Elizabeth, he helped to introduce mathematics to England, promoted the idea of maths as the basis of science, anticipated the invention of the telescope, charted the New World, and created one of the most magnificent libraries in Europe. At the height of his fame, Dee was poised to become one of the greats of the Renaissance. Yet he died in poverty and obscurity - his crime was to dabble in magic. Based on Dee's secret diaries which record in fine detail his experiments with the occult, Woolley's bestselling book is a rich brew of Elizabethan court intrigue, science, intellectual exploration, discovery and misfortune. And it tells the story of one man's epic but very personal struggle to come to terms with the fundamental dichotomy of the scientific age at the point it arose: the choice between ancient wisdom and modern science as the path to truth.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)
Although his accomplishments were substantial--he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, plotted voyages to the New World--John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. Beyond the political sphere his intellectual pursuits ranged form the scientific to the occult. His mathematics anticipated Isaac Newton by nearly a century, while his map making and navigation were critical to exploration. He was also obsessed with Alchemy, Astrology and mysticism. His library was one of the finest in Europe, a vast compendium of thousands of volumes. Yet, despite his powerful position and prodigious intellect, Dee died in poverty and obscurity, reviled and pitied as a madman. Benjamin Woolley tells the story of the rise and fall of this man, who wielded great influence during the pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the new world of science and reason.
(summary from another edition)
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