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Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Philosophers > 0870239406
  1. John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture)
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  2. John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture)

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This text presents a reassessment of the career and cultural background of John Dee (1527-1609), one of Elizabethan England's most interesting figures. Challenging the conventional image of the isolated eccentric philosopher, Sherman situates Dee in a fresh context, revealing that he was a well-connected adviser to the academic, courtly and commercial circles of his day. The centrepiece of Dee's life is shown to be the massive library and museum at Mortlake, perhaps the first modern "think tank". There he lived, worked and entertained some of the period's most influential intellectuals and politicians. Sherman discusses Dee's household arrangements, reading practices, and writings on subjects ranging from calendar reform to imperial policy. He also offers an account of the broad network of scholars and other experts who, along with Dee, operated behind the political scenes, providing textual and technological support during this time of unprecedented intellectual and global expansion.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Sherman reevaluates Dee on the basis of his non-occult writings, especially his marginalia (adervsaria) to various texts and his political writings on navigation and the British Empire (a term he coined). The analysis itself is valuable and important, contributing to an understanding of Dee as a man deeply involved with his political and social environment, as well as clarifying the ways in which Dee read his sources.

Unfortunately, Sherman goes overboard in attacking all previous scholarship on Dee, particularly what he calls the "Yatesian" approaches (in reference to Frances Yates). He never wastes an opportunity to attack, implying at times that his predecessors did not really read Dee but rather constructed a myth (of the magus) about him.

While it is certainly true that Yates overstated her thesis, she saw a good deal in Dee that was accurate. And without a thorough reevaluation of the _Monas hieroglyphica_, the angelic conversations or _Libri... Read more
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