Christopher Lionel Whitby - John Dee Actions With Spirits 22 December To 23 May 1583 Thesis Vol I (21.0 MB)
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This thesis presents an investigation of the nature of earliest extant records of the supposes communication with angels and spirits of John Dee (1527-1608) with the assistance of his two mediums or 'scryers', Barnabas Saul and Edward Kelly. The form chosen is a transcription of the records in Dee's hand contained in Sloane MS 3188, together with an introduction and commentary to the text, witch has been transcibed only once before, by Elias Ashmole in 1672.In the Introduction the physical state of the manuscript is describe... More >>>
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This thesis presents an investigation of the nature of earliest extant records of the supposes communication with angels and spirits of John Dee (1527-1608) with the assistance of his two mediums or 'scryers', Barnabas Saul and Edward Kelly. The form chosen is a transcription of the records in Dee's hand contained in Sloane MS 3188, together with an introduction and commentary to the text, witch has been transcibed only once before, by Elias Ashmole in 1672.
In the Introduction the physical state of the manuscript is described and hypothesis advanced as to how it arrived in the Sloane collection. Biographical details of Dee and his scryers are provided and a further chapter presents some background to Renaissance occult philosophy and practice of scrying. Arguments that the manuscript represents a conscious fraud or a cryptographical exercise are examined and disproved and the magical system and instruments evolved during the communications or 'Actions' are described.
The thesis contains approximately 95000 words, excluding the transcription of Sloane MS 3188.
Christopher Whitby read English at Cambridge and then undertook doctoral postgraduate work at the Shakespeare Institute on the Renaissance luminary John Dee (1527-1608), his thesis being published in 1988 and (to his amazement) reprinted by Routledge Kegan Paul in 2013. After some years spent in teaching, he joined the world of commercial advertising and publication and for the last 15 years has owned and managed a graphic design studio.
His poetry has appeared in a variety of internet and printed publications and in 2007 he inaugurated and administered the Open Poetry International Sonnet Competition. This competition, judged by Don Paterson, Susan Bassnett and Jacqueline Osherow, gathered nearly 2000 entries worldwide and the prizewinners hailed from the USA, Australia and the UK. The competition anthology Hand Luggage Only appeared in May 2008. The competition would run again but for lack of funding/underwriting and micro-funding is currently under investigation with a view to running it once more.
His own collection of 'poems with the voice in mind' (including a number of 'dramatic character' sonnets), In Small Measure, was published in May 2011. Both that volume and Hand Luggage Only are available from the usual sources (Amazon, PBS etc) but also - at below RRP for In Small Measure - from the Open Poetry website at www.openpoetry.org.uk .
His sonnet 'Check-up' was a finalist in the 2009 Nemerov Award.