Reviews: THE DEVIL’S DOCTOR: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science

The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, a book by Philip Ball

“Ball brings to light a largely forgotten phase of human understanding. It is a considerable achievement.”Peter Ackroyd, Times

“Wonderfully rich… Ball does an excellent job of recreating this strange and wonderful age, with its wandering wizards and its magical worldview. [He] succeeds in convincing us that, despite [Paracelsus’s] arcane ideas, his vision of the ‘strangeness and the beauty of the magical universe’ remains both inspiring and important.” P.D.Smith, Guardian

“Were a film about Paracelsus to be made today, however, it would have to be based on this excellent biography. Philip Ball’s account of this semi-mythical and little-known figure is a pleasure to read, combining a page-turning narrative with brief histories of Renaissance magic, medicine and religious upheaval.” Gary Lachman, Independent

“This is a remarkable piece of work, entertaining and edifying in a way in which so few biographies are… In his introduction, Ball declares that he is not a biographer. On this evidence, he certainly is.” Niall Griffiths, Sunday Telegraph

“This prodigiously learned volume can only reinforce Ball’s reputation as one of our most versatile and gripping science writers.” John Carey, Sunday Times

“It is to the credit of Ball’s formidably thorough, widely researched and level-headed study that, at the end of it, you see the point of Paracelsus. His admirable biographer asks us to understand his irascible and irrational subject in his own terms and his own times.” Sam Leith, Spectator Full article

Heinemann/Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2006) ISBN 0-434-01134-7[6]

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