THE LIVES OF ALCHEMYSTICAL PHILOSOPHERS; With a Critical Catalogue of Books in Occult Chemistry, and a Selection of the Most Celebrated Treatises on the Theory and Practice of the Hermetic Art.

First reissue of the unobtainable 1814 edition. Contemporary full calf, five raised bands and titles in gilt to a burgundy morocco label to the spine. Half title. pp384 + 2pp Index. Single inserted diagram opposite p.296. A very good copy, the binding square and firm although the calf rubbed and scuffed at the edges. The contents, with the neatly cancelled bookplate of Grand Lodge A.E. & A.M. of Massachusetts to the front pastedown and just the occasional finger mark and toning to the margins, are otherwise clean throughout. Either of the original editions are rare, both institutionally and in commerce.

First published under the title 'Lives of the Adepts in Alchemystical Philosophy' in 1814, although very few copies seem to have been issued. The text, was reissued in a similarly small print-run the following year, incorporating a new title page bearing the slightly modified title. Despite its very limited distribution, the book was influential: thus it is known to have been one of the books used by Mary Anne Atwood when she was writing 'A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery and Alchemy' (1850). It was not until 1888 when 'The Lives of Alchemystical Philosophers' found a wider audience in the form of a heavily revised edition by A. E. Waite. In the words of his bibliographer, R. A. Gilbert "[Waite] omitted altogether the most valuable part of the original text" - the collection of alchemical treatises that made up the third section of the original editions. The work is commonly attributed, with little or no convincing evidence to Francis Barrett, although this has been rejected by both A. E Waite and Timothy D'Arch Smith.

Stock code: 22386


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