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Open Access Alchemical Poetry and Academia: Manuscripts as Chronicles of Scholarly Enquiry

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Alchemical Poetry and Academia: Manuscripts as Chronicles of Scholarly Enquiry

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a copy of the "Verses upon the Elixir" in a sixteenth-century manuscript (TCC MS R.14.56) which has been kept in the Cambridge college since the early seventeenth century. It puts the tail ends of the manuscript's history into perspective, i.e. its origins and final storage in Trinity College Library, which has determined its institutional context and reception for the past four centuries. The chapter then introduces relevant theoretical background, especially sixteenth-century developments in book culture. Finally, it shows how, through scholars' avid use of the Trinity manuscript, this particular copy of the "Verses upon the Elixir" graduated from being a plain recipe text to a means of communication. The chapter also concerns essentially early modern learned approaches to the corpus around the "Verses" and the materiality of the organisation of knowledge, and considers Trinity Compendium as a product of this scholarly environment.

Keywords: Verses upon the Elixir; Cambridge college; Trinity college library; Trinity Compendium; Trinity manuscript



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