The Devil's Doctor

Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science

Philip Ball

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, who called himself Paracelsus, stands at the cusp of medieval and modern times. A contemporary of Luther, an enemy of the medical establishment, a scourge of the universities, an alchemist, an army surgeon, and a radical theologian, he attracted myths even before he died. His fantastic journeys across Europe and beyond were said to be made on a magical white horse, and he was rumored to carry the elixir of life in the pommel of his great broadsword. His name was linked with Faust, who bargained with the devil.

Who was the man behind these stories? Some have accused him of being a charlatan, a windbag who filled his books with wild speculations and invented words. Others claim him as the father of modern medicine. Philip Ball exposes a more complex truth in The Devil's Doctor—one that emerges only by entering into Paracelsus’s time. He explores the intellectual, political, and religious undercurrents of the sixteenth century and looks at how doctors really practiced, at how people traveled, and at how wars were fought. For Paracelsus was a product of an age of change and strife, of renaissance and reformation. And yet by uniting the diverse disciplines of medicine, biology, and alchemy, he assisted, almost in spite of himself, in the birth of science and the emergence of the age of rationalism.

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The Devil's Doctor
CHAPTER ONEBlack MadonnaA Country Doctor 
First there is the forest and inside the forest the clearing and inside the clearing the cabin and inside the cabin the mother and inside the mother the child and inside the child the mountain.Paracelsus, physician, magician, alchemist, urge, demiurge, deus et omnia was born under the sign of the occult, ruled by Mars and driven by a mountain in his soul.--Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries (1997) 
 
 
Every year on the fourteenth of September, it is as if the small Swiss town of Einsiedeln, in the canton

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About the Author

Philip Ball

Philip Ball is the author of Life’s Matrix (FSG, 2000), Bright Earth (FSG, 2002), and Critical Mass (FSG, 2004), which won the Aventis Science Book Prize in 2005.

Philip Ball

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The Devil's Doctor
Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science
Philip Ball

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2006
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429921824
ISBN10: 142992182X
448 pages, Includes 51 Black-and-White Illustrations, Notes, a Bibliography, and an Index
$7.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2006
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374229795
ISBN10: 0374229791
6 x 9 inches, 448 pages, 51 Black-and-White Illustrations; Notes/Bibliography/Index
$27.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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