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The Riddling Truth

December 2001–January 2002, no. 237

A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery by Lindy Abraham

Cambridge University Press, $49.95pb, 249 pp

The Riddling Truth

December 2001–January 2002, no. 237

Blessed are the compilers of dictionaries, writers of reference books and encyclopedia entries – how would we access knowledge without them? But if they work in the Australian university system, they are not blessed by the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, which awards no research points whatsoever for such activities. Lindy Abraham’s esoteric-sounding dictionary of alchemical imagery is a fine example of the kind of scholarly labour that doesn’t fit well with bean-counting bureaucrats’ notions of ‘productive’ research. With her assistance, we gain access to a world-view that had its roots in Hellenistic Egypt in 300 BC but, during the Renaissance, re-emerged as a powerful intellectual force: a precursor to modern science, as well as a systematic form of philosophy.

Paul Salzman reviews 'A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery' by Lindy Abraham

A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery

by Lindy Abraham

Cambridge University Press, $49.95pb, 249 pp

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