Review of: Karen Hunger Parshall, Michael T. Walton and Bruce T. Moran (eds.), Bridging Traditions: Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern Era
Social History of Medicine
Oxford University Press
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Fransen, S. (2016). Review of: Karen Hunger Parshall, Michael T. Walton and Bruce T. Moran (eds.), Bridging Traditions: Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern Era. Social History of Medicine, 29 (4), 847-848. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkw079
This collected volume is written in honour of Allen G. Debus (1926–2009), the famous historian of science. Trained as a chemist, his interest in the history of science and chemistry would guide his research and his output. As Karen Hunger Parshall describes in her crisp biographical chapter ‘Crafting the Chemical Interpretation of Nature: The Work of Allen G. Debus’, Debus became the pupil of the UK-based Walter Pagel during his Fulbright year-abroad (p. 4). This resulted in a life-long intellectual relationship and the publication of his first book The English Paracelsians based on his thesis.1 Parshall walks the reader through the many books that came after and the way they were received by colleagues in the field. It forms, in this way, as much a biography of Debus as a useful historiography of his generation of historians in the field of early modern history of alchemy and chemistry. Several of his colleagues and students have consequently contributed to the volume and have introduced ‘individual perspectives relating to the chemical and/or Paracelsian understanding of nature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’ (p. xiv). The initiator of the volume, Michael T. Walton, was one of the pupils of Debus and sadly died during the process of completion of the volume, and is therefore the second dedicatee.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkw079
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/290151