Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks Series
This series of limited edition hand-bound books by Adam McLean were initially produced between 1979 and 1986. They were never sold through book dealers, but only by direct mail order. Consequently, these books became collectors items, often fetching high prices on the second-hand market. Only a few copies remain of some of the older titles in this series and a number are now entirely sold out. Since 1997 thirty new titles have been issued with more in preparation.
No. 50. An Alchemist's Diary
Edited by Adam McLean
Back in 1991 I discovered an alchemist's diary while I was cataloging the Ferguson Collection at Glasgow University Library. Transcribing this, with its difficult handwriting, took many hundreds of hours over the last ten years. This diary is a window into the alchemical laboratory of a working alchemist in the London area during the late 17th century, during the resurgence of alchemy coinciding with the cultural changes during the restoration of King Charles II. Many key figures in alchemy are mentioned in the diary, Weidenfeld, Eiraeneus Philalethes, Robert Boyle, even the King himself.
The alchemy of the diary is toxic and dangerous stuff. Molten metals and corrosive salts are distilled and manipulated. This so far away from the rather pathetic modern invention of "kitchen alchemy" popularised today arising out of Frater Albertus in the late 70s. In the diary, real alchemy, the struggle to master metals, is explored in great detail.
Although it is an obscure and specialist item, as far as I am concerned this will be one of the treasures of the Magnum Opus series.
Limited edition of 100 signed and numbered hardbound copies. A5. 73 pages.