By Margaret Healy
Shakespeare's Sonnets and A Lover's grievance represent a wealthy tapestry of rhetorical play approximately Renaissance love in all its guises. an important strand of this is often non secular alchemy: operating the 'metal' of the brain via meditation on love, reminiscence paintings and excessive mind's eye. Healy demonstrates how this technique of anguished soul paintings - construed as necessary to encouraged poetic making - is woven into those poems, accounting for his or her such a lot enigmatic imagery and urgency of tone. The esoteric philosophy of past due Renaissance Neoplatonic alchemy, which embraced bawdy sexual symbolism and used to be hugely stylish in ecu highbrow circles, facilitated Shakespeare's inscription of an inside drama of a wanting brain developing poetry. Arguing that Shakespeare's incorporation of alchemical textures all through his past due works is indicative of a creative stance selling non secular toleration and cohesion, this e-book units out an important new framework for analyzing the 1609 poems, and transforms our knowing of Shakespeare's artwork.
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Additional resources for Shakespeare, Alchemy and the Creative Imagination: The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint
The Author’s Epigram, p. 97) 2 Title-page illustration, Esoteric and exoteric alchemy, Michael Maier, Tripus Aureus. Serious play, soul work and emblem books 43 The organizing myth of Atalanta Fugiens is rendered alchemically by Maier:116 fruit can grow from trees, minerals in the bowels of the earth, in deepest winter we can grow leaves and ﬂowers from the cut branch of an apple tree; so in chemistry things can regenerate.
52 Ficino declared in The Christian Religion: Divine Providence does not permit any part of the world at any time to be completely without religion, although it does allow rites to diﬀer. Perhaps variety of this kind is intended . . God prefers to be worshipped in any manner, however unﬁttingly . . 53 26 Alchemical contexts In Ficino’s scheme, non-egotistical religious love was more important than doctrinal religion (we might simply recall at this point the mysterious line in A Lovers Complaint, ‘Religious love put out religion’s eye’, line 250), and Orphic Hymns, Greek myths and Platonic dialogues were envisaged as allegorically encoding the wisdom of the ancient sage of Egypt.
It is also the driving myth underpinning many late sixteenth-century Hermetic emblem books since alchemy is a process whereby man puriﬁes and orders his internal ‘nature’. It is important to note that female Circe in the alchemical formulation is not an ‘other’ to man but Serious play, soul work and emblem books 39 an integral, fertile aspect of ‘natural man’; through combining and balancing male and female energies the artist attains wisdom and emotional harmony and maximizes his creative powers.
Shakespeare, Alchemy and the Creative Imagination: The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint by Margaret Healy