The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England

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9780199570904: The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England

An earl's son, plotting murder by witchcraft; conjuring spirits to find buried treasure; a stolen coat embroidered with pure silver; crooked gaming-houses and brothels; a terrifying new disease, and the self-trained surgeon who claims he can treat it. This is the world of Gregory Wisdom, a physician, magician, and consummate con-man in sixteenth-century London. Drawing on previously unknown documents to reconstruct this extraordinary man's career, Alec Ryrie takes us through the cut-throat business of early modern medicine, down to Tudor London's gangland of fraud and organized crime; from the world of Renaissance magi and Kabbalistic conjurers to street-corner wizards; and into the chaotic, exhilarating religious upheavals of the Reformation. On the way, we learn how Tudor England's dignified public face and its rapacious underworld were intimately connected to each other. Gregory Wisdom's career is an object lesson in how to conjure up wealth and respectability from nothing in a turbulent age. Praised as "an excellent snapshot of a time intrigued by the spiritual realm" (Los Angeles Times), this is a unique glimpse into a world intoxicated by new ideas.

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About the Author:


Alec Ryrie is Professor of Theology and Religion at Durham University.

Review:

Review from previous edition: "It would be hard not to love this book. It relates a fascinating, neglected story; it is wonderfully well written but also bears the hallmarks of a rigorous and inventive historical imagination; and it makes all sorts of unexpected connotations between seemingly
unconnected aspects of Tutor society."

--Jonathan Wright, The Tablet 06/10/08

"Advance Praise: This is a treat. It's a great story, an exciting piece of detective work, a portrait of some delectably appalling characters, and tells us much that is new about the Tudor underworld of crime and magic."

--Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft

"Ryrie displays his customary elegant wit in illuminating Tudor England from unexpected angles, not least in revealing that piety and Protestantism, thuggery and fraud, can be entertainingly close in their kinship. This is religion without any decline in magic."

--Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Reformation: Europe's House Divided

"This is the past seen from the inside, and from as low a vantage as possible. Very elegantly written... The investigative work [Ryrie] has undertaken must have been arduous, but his surmises are apt and his interpretations happy."

--Peter Ackroyd, The Times 19/09/2008

"Ryrie takes us on a journey into areas of Tudor England which rarely make it into the popular history books. Starting from what can be pieced together about one obscure figure, he opens up a world of con - men, magicians, prostitutes, astrolgers, dubious doctors and aristocrats down on their
luck. His subject matter combines with a deft writing style which carries his readers down a variety of gloriously unexpected by-ways, and leaves them wanting to know more about the Tudor underworld he evokes so vividly."

--James Sharpe, author of The Bewitching of Anne Gunter

"Fascinating insight into a lost and lurid world."

--Daily Telegraph 15/11/2008

"The author lets his story unfold with considerable flair."

--Owen Davies, BBC History Magazine 01/11/2008

"A Tudor story that glitters with wit and erudition. Ryrie has produced a veritable nugget of gold."

--Leanda de Lisle, History Today 01/12/2008

"He excavates many nuggets of fascinating information."

--Literary Review 01/11/2008

"The book illuminates various shady pathways of Tudor political and social history, and the author lets his story unfold with considerable flair."

--BBC Music Magazine. 01/11/2008

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. An earl s son, plotting murder by witchcraft; conjuring spirits to find buried treasure; a stolen coat embroidered with pure silver; crooked gaming-houses and brothels; a terrifying new disease, and the self-trained surgeon who claims he can treat it. This is the world of Gregory Wisdom, a physician, magician, and consummate con-man at work in sixteenth-century London. In this book, Alec Ryrie uses previously unknown documents to reconstruct this extraordinary man s career. The journey takes us through the cut-throat business of early modern medicine, down to Tudor London s gangland of fraud and organized crime; from the world of Renaissance magi and Kabbalistic conjurers to street-corner wizards; and into the chaotic, exhilarating religious upheavals of the Reformation. On the way, we learn how Tudor England s dignified public face and its rapacious underworld were intimately connected to each other. Gregory Wisdom s career is an object lesson in how to conjure up wealth and respectability from nothing in a turbulent age. And it provides a unique glimpse into a world intoxicated with new ideas, where it was impossible to know quite what to believe - or who to trust. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780199570904

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. An earl s son, plotting murder by witchcraft; conjuring spirits to find buried treasure; a stolen coat embroidered with pure silver; crooked gaming-houses and brothels; a terrifying new disease, and the self-trained surgeon who claims he can treat it. This is the world of Gregory Wisdom, a physician, magician, and consummate con-man at work in sixteenth-century London. In this book, Alec Ryrie uses previously unknown documents to reconstruct this extraordinary man s career. The journey takes us through the cut-throat business of early modern medicine, down to Tudor London s gangland of fraud and organized crime; from the world of Renaissance magi and Kabbalistic conjurers to street-corner wizards; and into the chaotic, exhilarating religious upheavals of the Reformation. On the way, we learn how Tudor England s dignified public face and its rapacious underworld were intimately connected to each other. Gregory Wisdom s career is an object lesson in how to conjure up wealth and respectability from nothing in a turbulent age. And it provides a unique glimpse into a world intoxicated with new ideas, where it was impossible to know quite what to believe - or who to trust. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780199570904

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Book Condition: New. 2010. Reprint. Paperback. A lively history set in sixteenth-century England, detailing the hitherto unknown case of an extraordinary physician, magician, and con-man named Gregory Wisdom - and the London underworld to which he belonged. Num Pages: 224 pages, 15 integrated halftones. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; 3JB; HBJD1; HBLH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 195 x 130 x 13. Weight in Grams: 248. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780199570904

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