The Queen's Conjurer

The Queen's Conjurer

The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser to Queen Elizabeth I

Book - 2001 | 1st ed.
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Baker & Taylor
Profiles the alchemist, astrologist, and mystic who advised Queen Elizabeth on astrological matters, and describes how his interest in spirits, angels, and conjuring led to his downfall.

McMillan Palgrave
A fascinating portrait of one of the most brilliant, complex, and colorful figures of the Renaissance.

Although his accomplishments were substantial -- he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, and plotted voyages to the New World-John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. Beyond the political sphere his intellectual pursuits ranged from the scientific to the occult. His mathematics anticipated Isaac Newton by nearly a century, while his mapmaking 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 engrossing story of the rise and fall of this remarkable man, who wielded great influence during the pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the new world of science and reason. Written with flair and vigor, based on numerous surviving diaries of the period, The Queen's Conjurer is a highly readable account of an extraordinary life.


Holtzbrinck
A fascinating portrait of one of the most brilliant, complex, and colorful figures of the Renaissance.

Although his accomplishments were substantial -- he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, and plotted voyages to the New World-John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. Beyond the political sphere his intellectual pursuits ranged from the scientific to the occult. His mathematics anticipated Isaac Newton by nearly a century, while his mapmaking 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 engrossing story of the rise and fall of this remarkable man, who wielded great influence during the pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the new world of science and reason. Written with flair and vigor, based on numerous surviving diaries of the period, The Queen's Conjurer is a highly readable account of an extraordinary life.


Blackwell North Amer
It was an age of great change. By the sixteenth century, the years of darkness were slowly giving way to the light of a new intellectual curiosity, which had explorers calling on new shores, scientists musing again about our place in the heavens, and poets rewriting what it means to be human.
From among the great names that entered into history from this period, one had been lost: Dr. John Dee. This single shadowy and complex figure embodied all the conflicts of the age - between science and superstition, Papist and Protestant, faith and future, medieval and modern. Dee was a man of astounding learning, whose influence ranged from esoteric philosophy to practical politics. It was said that his vast personal library - perhaps the largest and finest in all of Europe at the time - contained the entire Renaissance within it. A trusted adviser to Queen Elizabeth, Dee plotted her astrological chart and selected her coronation day. His mathematics anticipated Newton by nearly a century; his mapmaking and navigation made possible great voyages of exploration, such as Martin Frobisher's ill-fated journeys in search of the Northwest Passage. The very idea of a British empire may be credited to Dee.
Yet these intellectual and scientific achievements were matched by his passions for alchemy, astrology, and mysticism, and Dee's relentless pursuit of spirits and angels proved his undoing. The tragic story of the latter portion of his life - his fall from grace at the hands of a charismatic and diabolical trickster - is a riveting spectacle of obsession and betrayal, of intellectual insight and blind faith. Despite his once-lofty position and his prodigious intellect, Dee died in poverty and obsurity, pitied, reviled and ultimately forgotten.
The Queen's Conjurer is Benjamin Woolley's account of the rise and decline of this brilliant and remarkable man, who left an indelible mark in so many different realms. Blending biography with superb narrative skills, Woolley tells the story not just of a man, but a pivotal moment in history.

Baker
& Taylor

The fascinating and often overlooked life of John Dee, a scientist and trusted advisor to Queen Elizabeth I resurrects one of the most colorful and interesting Renaissance men. 20,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2001.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805065091
0805065091
Characteristics: xii, 355 p. : 1 map ; 25 cm.

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Saturniidae
Apr 20, 2012

I gave this book high marks. It is well-written, thorough, and gives a good sense of the era that created a man like Dee. The sad part is when I became disillusioned about Dee because of his reliance on Edward Kelley, his scryer. I realized that much of Dee's occult fame belongs instead to Kelley's visions (from wherever those visions might have come) and in later life Dee just wasn't as impressive as I'd hoped. Disappointed, but happy to know better now.

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