Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Frances Yates and the Name-Dropping of History

The first reliable memory I have of hearing of Frances Yates was during a visit to the office hours of one of my more distinguished undergraduate professors, Raymond Waddington, who recommended I read her Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition when I kept asking about Milton's esoteric pretensions. Years later, I gave my first paper at a conference at the same school on Esotericism hosted by one of Yates' own students, Dr. Allison Coudert.

Yates' "GBHT" and of course The Rosicrucian Enlightenment and The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabeth Age still serve as a key introduction for many students to the "big names" in the academic study of Renaissance Magic. Some of her positions have become controversial and others superseded, but these texts continue to deserve a primary place in the curriculum as classics.

critical article