In lieu of a proper blog post (I was sick last week) I’m sharing links related to the book:
A Portrait of the Artist as a (Wild) Young Man: My Life with Berti Spranger, a novel by Eva Jana Siroka – Rudolf II didn’t just support alchemists like Dee and Kelley but promoted art and artists as well. Spranger was one of his favorites; evidently he liked the artist’s mythical nudes so much he kept him a near prisoner, but Spranger still managed to get in a lot of trouble. The eccentric characters of Rudolfine Prague are so ripe for fictionalization it’s sad they aren’t played with more often (or are they? Please leave book recommendations in the comments!)
James VI and Witches, both Friend and Foe – James I hated and feared witchcraft – Dee wrote him a long, desperate letter in 1604 attempting to clear his reputation for conjuring – but paradoxically allowed known witches into his inner circle, to the extent of having one help in his wife’s birthing chamber. Illustrative of the gray area witchcraft occupied in Elizabethan/Jacobean England; high status practitioners of useful magic got a pass.
A magical walk in the footsteps of the Pendle witches – this second of a two-part series discusses Alice Nutter, one of the wealthier of the twelve accused. Nutter appears in fictional form in Jeannette Winterson’s “The Daylight Gate” where she’s presented as an associate of Dee’s and Kelley’s. Hey, it’s fiction, so why not?