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Open Access Alchemical Verse and the Organisation of Knowledge

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Alchemical Verse and the Organisation of Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns a series of notebooks written by a physician in the final decades of the sixteenth century. It explores the notebooks (henceforth, the 'Sloane notebooks', named after their current place of storage in the British Library's Sloane collection), their contents, organisation and purpose. Sloane's notes represent an attempt to consolidate texts and experience, printed books and manuscripts, alchemy and medicine. The entire 'virtual' medical library of the physician nevertheless shows clear areas of preference. The medical notebooks are a natural starting point for the analysis of the Sloane notebook series' organisation. The Sloane notebook compiler's way of thinking about the medical uses of alchemical processes resulted in the dissection of reading materials into passages referring to specific substances and the placing of these excerpts into specially designated notebooks, which interconnected with each other by means of cross-references.

Keywords: 'virtual' medical library; alchemical processes; manuscripts; physician; Sloane notebook

10.1163/9789004254831_008
/content/books/b9789004254831_008
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