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Re: About Thaddeus Hajek
Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
> Both the new Web page I quoted and _Ottuv slovnik naucny_
> make it clear that Hajek translated Mattioli's herbal.
It makes sense now: 'And finally he published in Czech
Mattioli's herbal...'. I can read Czech once the meaning
has been explained to me :-)
> On loooking again at _Ottuv slovnik naucny_, I noticed there
> is an entry for Simon Hajek, the father of Tadeas [...]
Z. Horsky also writes that Tadeas owed his alchemical
knowledge to his father.
> > Have you seen the three books by Ivan Svitak about
> > Dee, Kelly and Westonia?
> Unfortunately not. When I became aware of them (ca 1995),
> they were already unavailable and Svitak had been dead.
> The ephemeral publishing house (which I think was his
> own one-man company) had ceased to exist.
> I have, however, talked to people who read them and
> they did not find them anything special. In fact Svitak
> (a former marxist philosopher and propagandist) wrote
> them in English in California (where he emigrated
> after 1968) and they were apparently published in some
> sort of underground publishing house. Curiously,
> the Library of Congress does not know about that
> "editio princeps" while it lists the Prague translations.
> The latter, however, were published without references
> which (seemingly) had been included in the English
I do have copies of the Czech versions, but can read only
every 20th word or so, which simply is not enough to make
any sense out of them. When Stolfi and I were in Prague,
we were shown a Czech copy of the one about Dee.
> Anyway, I doubt there can be anything there which comes
> from primary sources (as these were not available to
> him in California) - so I would guess they just rehash
> the factual material from other books in Czech.
> The fact that references were removed for the Czech
> version make me suspicious of their value. Nevertheless,
> I would obviously like to see them and confirm or change
> this opinion.
This is precisely what I would like to know as well. For one
thing, the Dee copy mentions (in 1994 if not earlier) that
Georg Baresch was the owner of the VMs prior to Marci. This
could mean one of two things:
- he did have access to some sources we don't know about
- he extrapolated this from the hints in Brumbaugh's book, to
which he would have had access
I am strongly inclined to believe the latter, also because he
states that Dee was the seller of hte VMs to Rudolf, for which
again two similar options exist. Here we can be pretty sure that
he did not have hard evidence.
For Kelly's death year one can read 1595 and 1597. Svitak sticks
to the latter but my understanding is that 1595 is the correct
one. This is another awkward point.
Finally, the cover of the book about Westonia has a portrait of
her. But in a catalogue including some paintings from Rudolf's
collections, the same portrait (a painting by Hans von Aachen)
is described as "a portrait of a girl (daughter of the artist?)
about 1612". Still, Westonia does seem to mention her step-father
(Kelly) in a more positive light than what he is usually held in,
and for her Svitak is the only source I know about. (In fact I had
not heard about her before we went to Prague).
> As you met Lubos Antonin in Prague, you may also have
> met Michal Pober - he is trying to trace the elusive
> California editions of Svitak's books (but so far with
> no success).
We did indeed! He showed us the place in Bethlehem square
where Hajek's house used to be (and where Dee and Kelly did
their skrying). When did you last communicate with him? I did
ask him about the Svitak books in February, after we came back
(just recovering from a rather exciting game of
football between his country and Hajek's, with a
flattering result for the former :-/ )