Friday, December 26, 2014

That Thou Shalt Like An Airy Spirit Go

Last year we celebrated forty years of The House with a Clock in its Walls by highlighting some of the people, places, and things that John mentioned in the text, including this about celebrated John Dee:
After moving into his uncle’s house Lewis Barnavelt spends time going through a lot of books, including one whose frontispiece is an engraving of this person raising the spirit of a dead woman [The House with a Clock in its Walls; 67-8].

The American Eldritch Society for the Preservation of Hearsay and Rumor recently published the following, thereby throwing a wrench in a number of things:
This image is apocryphally associated with John Dee, due to his longtime partnership with Edward Kelly. This confusion has pervaded popular culture with its inclusion in The House With A Clock in Its Walls, in which a young Lewis Barnavelt discovers an incorrectly captioned frontispiece within his uncle’s magical library.

At no point in the story is the error addressed, and the erroneous association persists.

The image was first published in The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century by an uncredited artist (the whole work seems to just be credited to one Merlinus Anglicus, Junior, Gent).

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