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Scbolasticism, Metallukgy, and Secrecy in The Laboratony

Scbolasticism, Metallukgy, and Secrecy in The Laboratony

The Style and Origin of Starkey's Notebooks

(p.156) Four Scbolasticism, Metallukgy, and Secrecy in The Laboratony
Alchemy Tried in the Fire
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on several aspects of Starkey's experimental procedure in light of the seventeenth-century context, including the training that he received before arriving in midcentury London. It accounts for the remarkable fact that Starkey established a working laboratory in London less than four months after his arrival there and that he was already turning out products of sufficient novelty to impress such collectors of arcane curiosities as Samuel Hartlib, Benjamin Worsley, Robert Boyle, and the strange Dr. Farrar, who offered him five thousand pounds for his metallurgical secrets. This chapter further turns to the interconnected issues of concealment and textual authority and shows show how the notebooks shed important new light on the issue of secrecy in transmutational alchemy. Despite Starkey's explicit reliance on textual authorities, his Scholastic method, combined with the results of his laboratory practice and his determination to make his processes better and more cost-efficient, led Starkey to a continual engagement with and correction of even his most valued textual sources.

Keywords:   Starkey, laboratory practice, metallurgy, scholasticism, alchemy

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