and Fugue

A Digital Edition of Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary
Edited by Tara Nummedal and Donna Bilak

Furnace and Fugue brings to life in digital form an enigmatic seventeenth-century text, Michael Maier’s alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens. This intriguing and complex text from 1618 reinterprets Ovid’s legend of Atalanta as an alchemical allegory in a series of fifty emblems, each of which contains text, image, and a musical score for three voices. Re-rendering Maier’s multimedia masterpiece as an enhanced digital publication, Furnace and Fugue allows contemporary readers to hear, see, manipulate, and investigate Atalanta fugiens in ways that were perhaps imagined when it was composed but were simply impossible to realize in full before now.

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This landmark edition of Michael Maier's intriguing Atalanta fugiens is a tour de force at multiple levels—intellectually, visually, digitally, and aurally. It is both deeply learned and a playful performance worthy of Maier himself. Quite simply magnificent.

— Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History, Director of the Center for Science and Society, Columbia University

A remarkable collaborative study of a remarkable book. Maier’s volume invites all sorts of participatory activities—art, music, alchemical, poetry, emblems. It requires a broad range of expert scholars to present its various facets, and a pathbreaking mode of presentation to make it available in its full significance and variety. This interactive and interdisciplinary project is as rich and variegated as the original.

— Thomas Forrest Kelly, Morton B. Knafel Research Professor of Music, Harvard University

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and, at Brown University, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Social Science Research Institute.