Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rare Books on Amazon

Forgot to mention another book that I'm currently reading, along with the Newman/Principe. This is a book that's apparently so rare that the Britisih Library don't even have one, and I never expected to find a copy. One Saturday morning recently I was at my computer having the usual breakfast surf, when I found myself doing searches on Amazon, and I decided to try my luck with said rare tome - Alchemists and Gold by Jacques Sadoul (Published in France as The Treasure of the Alchemists) - and to my immensense surprise, I found it listed. Not only that, but someone was selling a near mint copy! I bought it on the spot.

The book is important for Elias purposes, as it reproduces a letter written by Spinoza in March 1667, declaring that he feels confident that the transmutation performed by John Frederick Helvetius (one of the novel's main characters) was indeed genuine. And you won't find this listed in any of the mainstream biographies of Spinoza, as all the authors of those books don't know what to make of the fact that one of the fathers of the Enlightenment and Rationalism was making claims for something so apparently un-Enlightened and irrational. I, however, do. Spinoza's letter is massively important: thematically speaking, it's like the casting of the bell at the end of Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev...
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