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Magus: The Art of Magic from Faustus to Agrippa

Historian Grafton offers a superb account of the astrologers, alchemists, and sorcerers who practiced “natural magic” in Europe from the Middle Ages through early modernity. Grafton demonstrates that, while magical practice was already ubiquitous, what was innovative about these self-styled Learned Magicians was their belief that sorcery worked because of, and not despite, the rational laws of nature. Subjects include the historical Doctor Faustus, a “necromancer” whose exploits would become fodder for Marlowe and Goethe; the Renaissance humanist and reviver of Neoplatonist philosophy Marsilio Ficino; and the occultist and soldier Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Read more

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