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Agrippa of Nettesheim as a critical magus

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Chapter Summary

The figure of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa embodies, and has become a literary model par excellence, for a troubled Magus turned sceptic. In some comments by his contemporaries, this chapter finds many elements of Agrippa's biography, which will blend with those of the historical Faust. One of the arguments often used to attack Agrippa, from the Jesuit Martin Delrio onwards, was to classify him alongside the historical Faust. The legend of Agrippa the sorcerer, accompanied by an incarnate devil in the form of a dog reappears in Goethe's Faust, and this theme was destined to enjoy a long life. Furthermore, the personification of a dog goes back to the dedication in De vanitate where Agrippa describes himself to his sponsor, the merchant Agostino Fornari, as a man almost transformed into a dog. Many elements of Agrippa's life and work converge in the portrait of Heinrich, the protagonist of Brjusov's novel.

Keywords: Brjusov novel; De vanitate; Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa; Jesuit Martin Delrio; par excellence



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