Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226700786 Will Publish August 2020
E-book $45.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226700816 Will Publish August 2020

The Transmutations of Chymistry

Wilhelm Homberg and the Académie Royale des Sciences

Lawrence M. Principe

The Transmutations of Chymistry

Lawrence M. Principe

504 pages | 16 halftones, 6 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226700786 Will Publish August 2020
E-book $45.00 ISBN: 9780226700816 Will Publish August 2020
This book reevaluates the changes to chymistry that took place from 1660 to 1730 through a close study of the chymist Wilhelm Homberg (1653–1715) and the changing fortunes of his discipline at the Académie Royale des Sciences, France’s official scientific body. By charting Homberg’s remarkable life from Java to France’s royal court, and his endeavor to create a comprehensive theory of chymistry (including alchemical transmutation), Lawrence M. Principe reveals the period’s significance and reassesses its place in the broader sweep of the history of science.

Principe, the leading authority on the subject, recounts how Homberg’s radical vision promoted chymistry as the most powerful and reliable means of understanding the natural world. Homberg’s work at the Académie and in collaboration with the future regent, Philippe II d’Orléans, as revealed by a wealth of newly uncovered documents, provides surprising new insights into the broader changes chymistry underwent during, and immediately after, Homberg. A human, disciplinary, and institutional biography, The Transmutations of Chymistry significantly revises what was previously known about the contours of chymistry and scientific institutions in the early eighteenth century.
List of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. A Merchant of the Marvelous
Chapter 2. A Batavian in Paris
Chapter 3. Essaying Chymistry
Chapter 4. A New Chymical Light
Chapter 5. Chrysopoeia at the Académie and the Palais Royal
Chapter 6. Chymistry in Homberg’s Later Years: Practices, Promises, Poisons, and Prisons
Chapter 7. Homberg’s Legacy

Epilogue: Homberg and the Transmutations of Chymistry at the Académie
Note on Sources
Sources Cited
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