Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Lofty Pretensions

Burke and I have been discussing Dr. John Dee... NEVER MIND WHY! Maybe we just have lofty pretensions, did you ever think of that? And that made me dig out this book I have, THE BOOK OF ENGLISH MAGIC, the authors of which (Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate) are really alarmingly credulous, but who cares? Turns out there's a whole chapter on Dr. John Dee. Here are some "fave" sentences: "During his time at Cambridge he achieved notoriety - and narrowly escaped conviction for sorcery - by constructing a mechanical flying beetle for a stage production of Aristophanes' PAX. It was so realistic that it terrified members of the audience, who thought it the work of the devil." Edward Kelley, the man Dr. Dee hired to help him communicate with angels, is described as "Often wearing a cowl to disguise the fact that his ears had been lopped, supposedly for forging coins... Kelley clearly took a fancy to Jane and told Dee that the spirits had requested they share each other's wives. Dee was skeptical at first, and Jane herself was far from enthusiastic."