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John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature

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4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  86 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Elizabethan England's most famous natural philosopher John Dee recorded his reflections on the natural world, the practice of natural philosophy, and the apocalypse in a series of conversations with angels, which have long been an enigmatic facet of his life and work. This book makes extensive use of Dee's library and annotations to clarify this mystery by providing a deta ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published November 2nd 2006 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1999)
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Katharine Kerr
Apr 04, 2012 Katharine Kerr rated it really liked it
I found this book well-written, well-researched, and extremely interesting. Harkness is an academic who's done a great deal of original research in difficult sources and materials. Deciphering Dee's handwriting alone should have earned her a medal. One of its most valuable aspects is her overturning or debunking a great many popular ideas and myths about Dee that still have wide currency today. He was far from solitary, for example. He worked with four "scryers", not merely Edward Kelley, for an ...more
Nancy Goldberg Wilks
Nov 07, 2012 Nancy Goldberg Wilks rated it it was amazing
Great book!Deborah Harkness has a knack of making History fun and interesting - even in her non-fiction, academic work! I have no History background, yet I thoroughly enjoyed - and understood - this book. It is well written, interesting, and I learned a great deal. Highly recommended.
Maureen
Nov 25, 2011 Maureen rated it it was amazing
From amazon:
John Dee's angel conversations have been an enigmatic facet of Elizabethan England's most famous natural philosopher's life and work. Professor Harkness contextualizes Dee's angel conversations within the natural philosophical, religious and social contexts of his time philosophy, and the apocalypse, and argues that they represent a continuing development of John Dee's earlier concerns and interests. These conversations include discussions of the natural world, the practice of natur
...more
Bill
Sep 30, 2008 Bill rated it really liked it
In elegant yet straight-ahead prose (my favorite!), Dr. Harkness does what she does best: show the impact of the social climate on the intellectual community embedded within it. Her deconstruction of the strange pursuits of one Dr. John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth, who died a pauper, illustrates a point often lost by historians of science, namely the fact that empirical observers are influenced by social and cultural definitions of what is and is not observable. John Dee attempted to obse ...more
Cheryl Lassiter
Jan 09, 2016 Cheryl Lassiter rated it it was amazing
All the inside baseball on John Dee, his strange conversations with angels, and his thinking about how the world worked. Plus excellent sourcing for further reading. Deborah Harkness never dangles her intellect (which is considerable) before your nose. Nor is she snarky; her writing is clear, plain-spoken, and respectful to her subject.

For me, she has set a new (and higher) standard for academic writing.
Monica
Aug 02, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it
weirdly fascinating look at an odd element of Elizabethan England. Harkness (who since then has gone on to write some great fiction) does not write like an academic, in my opinion, making this very accessible to those who have an interest.
Marianne
Jul 10, 2013 Marianne rated it really liked it
Deborah's non-fiction brings greater depth to the world of John Dee, mathematician, alchemist, learned man of many talents. We find this book a wealth of information. Dr. Dee wrestles with complex questions that even today are unanswered. Consider the Book of Nature and its impact on the thought leader and conveners of knowledge in the sixteenth century. A huge collector of books on many diverse topics Dr. Dee's library, a source of Natural Philosophy, Scientific Revolution and alchemical knowle ...more
Gia
Jan 31, 2015 Gia rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read. Well written with a lot of sources for more information.
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-plus
Excellent scholarly work on Dee, highly recommended to Enochian students.
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My life has been a series of left turns that nevertheless took me in the right direction (though it didn't always seem so at the time). I went to college to be a theater major and ended up studying the Renaissance. I went to grad school to become a college administrator and loved to teach so much I became a college professor instead. I thought I wanted to be a Tudor-Stuart historian, and found mys ...more
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