This book is a clear, engaging examination of alchemical themes in the works of Shakespare. Beginning with a short but concise history of alchemy, Cowlan then shows how alchemical thought circulated in the intellectual currents of Shakespeare's milieu, and from there moves on to examine some of Shakespeare's most famous works, including King Lear, Cymbeline, and the Tempest. In these he takes up core symbols, planetary allusions, solar and lunar references and other traces which show how 'esoteric' ideas were more mainstream than we think, at that time. This is a fascinating work for students of early modern history, Shakespearean scholars and those keen to learn about alchemy on early modern thought.


Frankfurt: Alembic, 2017. Paperback, vii+154 pages. New.


Heavenly Alchemy [Shakespeare] - Paul Cowlan (signed)