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Alchemical Mercury – A Theory of Ambivalence - Stanford Scholarship Online
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Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence

Karen Pinkus


How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy's ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. W ... More

Keywords: alchemy, ambivalence, literary theory, visual theory, transformation, Dutch seventeenth century, conceptual art, alternative fuels

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780804760324
Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013 DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804760324.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karen Pinkus, author