Dr. John Dee: Elizabethan Mystic and Astrologer

by G. M. Hort

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This volume illustrates that, while as the saying goes, history is written by the winners, or at least predominantly by the successful, there is much to learn from the initially less successful. G. M. Hort’s account of Dr. John Dee is a different kind of biography as it paints him as a person that worked tirelessly, but in some ways never found success, and often times earned scorn instead. Despite the challenges he faced, the reader may conclude that Dr. Dee ultimately did fairly well for himself, becoming an esteemed mathematician, recognized occultist, and an erstwhile advisor to Queen Elizabeth I.

John Dee was born on July 13, 1527. While his father apparently never rose above being a “gentleman-server” in the Royal Household, the family did not want of food or shelter. Dee became an avid scholar, and very ingenuous, but his thoughtfulness and inventions were often linked to sorcery. Eventually he plunged deeper into his studies in the mysteries of sorcery and alchemy and (possibly) freemasonry. Hort gives a fascinating biography of the enigmas surrounding Dr. Dee and the times in which he lived.