The Arch Conjuror of England

John Dee

Glyn Parry

View Inside Price: $40.00


May 28, 2013
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
14 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300194098
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth

Outlandish alchemist and magician, political intelligencer, apocalyptic prophet, and converser with angels, John Dee (1527–1609) was one of the most colorful and controversial figures of the Tudor world. In this fascinating book—the first full-length biography of Dee based on primary historical sources—Glyn Parry explores Dee’s vast array of political, magical, and scientific writings and finds that they cast significant new light on policy struggles in the Elizabethan court, conservative attacks on magic, and Europe's religious wars. John Dee was more than just a fringe magus, Parry shows: he was a major figure of the Reformation and Renaissance.

Glyn Parry is professor of history at Northumbria University, Newcastle.

“Parry has assembled an important contribution to our understanding of how magic became science.”—Philip Ball, Nature

“In a meticulously researched study, Glyn Parry reassesses Dee’s reputation as a maverick figure on the margins and instead places him at the very heart of the Elizabethan court…a colourful, charismatic and controversial character, Dee is brought to life to great effect”—Anna Whitelock, BBC History Magazine

“With this learned book, Parry has rescued Dee from the shadows of his own secrecy and restored him as a glittering light in the magical Elizabethan firmament.”—Nigel Jones, The Sunday Telegraph

'Glyn Parry's book succeeds in bringing the intriguing, shadowy world of Dee to life with an impressive attention to detail.'
- Philip Carr-Gomm

'Parry's intimate knowledge of 16th-century civic and ecclesiastical institutions allows him to paint a vivid picture of the shifting sands on which a figure like Dee had to operate. This account puts new material on the table and adds considerably to our understanding of both Dee and the worlds within which he operated (spiritual and temporal).'—William H. Sherman, author of John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the Renaissance

'Parry’s biography convincingly situates John Dee in the labyrinthine world of Elizabethan court politics. It is the most detailed study yet written on Dee’s contacts with the highest echelons of Elizabethan government, and the first to bridge the gap between his magical and his political activities.' - Stephen Clucas, author of Magic, Memory and Natural Philosophy in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

“In Glyn Parry, [Dee] has at last attracted a biographer with a talent for uncovering fresh archival material, who has conducted thorough research both into his life and the circles in which he moved…this book makes an admirable contribution both to an understanding of his career and of the Elizabethan age.”—Ronald Hutton, The Independent on Sunday

“In this intensively researched book, we are invited to imagine Elizabethan England as a much stranger place that we had assumed. John Dee comes across as a figure of national significance in an age with a belief system very different from ours.”—Graham Parry, The Guardian

“…the scholarship is first rate.”—Alec Ryrie, Times Higher Education

“…a thorough piece of research, and a worthwhile scholarly work.”—David V Barrett, The Independent

"Parry's pacy narrative traces Dee's public life in unprecedented detail."—Alison Shell, Church Times

"The verve of Parry's writing makes The Arch Conjuror of England as enjoyably readable as it is thought-provoking."—George Bernard, History Today

"The Arch-Conjuror of England is an impressive achievement, distilling years of research into a book that is coherent and compelling."—J.P.D. Cooper, Times Literary Supplement

"Parry’s book makes a convincing case for paying greater attention to magical and alchemical matters as an underappreciated facet of the politics and culture of the Elizabethan court. It also adds immeasurably to our understanding of the place at that court, somehow simultaneously central and marginal, of a perennially fascinating and paradoxical individual."—Peter Marshall, Literary Review

"Elizabethan England may seem close to us in Shakespeare but this revelatory portrait of John Dee reveals a very different world." The Independent.

“Glynn Parry puts Dee at the heart of the Tudor court. Here, astrology, magic and alchemy offered potentially game-changing tools for those manoeuvring for position. […] Crammed with fresh evidence and sometimes boldly speculative, this book offers a new portrait of a fraught age – and of an astrologer unable to predict the rise and fall of his own star.”—Jennifer Rampling, Nature

“Glynn Parry puts Dee at the heart of the Tudor court. Here, astrology, magic and alchemy offered potentially game-changing tools for those manoeuvring for position. […] Crammed with fresh evidence and sometimes boldly speculative, this book offers a new portrait of a fraught age – and of an astrologer unable to predict the rise and fall of his own star.”—Jennifer Rampling, Nature

"Offering an eminently readable biographical narrative as well as work of careful scholarship, TheArch-Conjuror of England thus entertains as it informs its readers."—Lisa Weston, Sixteenth Century Journal

Shortlisted for the 2013 Longman/History Today Book Prize.