Nebraska, here are some quotes from the book. It did not play a major role in the story, but I remembered the term when I read The Alchemist. And then here it was again in The Glass Books. I don’t remember this term ever coming up in my life before. Why now 3 times involving 3 different book club books—in a span of 6 months?
Pg. 11: Dumas was a genius, and he understood this. Like an alchemist in his laboratory, he added a dash of this, a dash of that, and with his talent combined it all to create a drug that had many addicts.” I tapped my chest, not without pride, “That has them still.”
Pg. 58: Once, a client of mine who was fascinated by alchemy asked me to find him the bibliography quoted by Fulcanelli and one of his followers.
Pg. 154: He (Corso) knelt and read the titles printed on some of the spines and front edges. They were all ancient treatises on magic, alchemy, and demonology.
And the most interesting….Notice the correlation to art.
“I’m not sure.” She (Frieda Ungern) tapped the engraving lightly. “The hermit in the tarot, very similar to this one, is sometimes accompanied by a serpent, or by the stick that symbolizes it. In occult philosophy, the serpent and the dragon are the guardians of the wonderful enclosure, garden, or fleece, and they sleep with their eyes open. They are the Mirror of the Art.”
“Ars diavoli,” said Corso casually, and the baroness half smiled, nodding mysteriously, But he knew, from Fulcanelli and other ancient texts, that the term “Mirror of the Art” came not from demonology but from alchemy. He wondered how much charlatanism lay beneath the baroness’s display of erudition. He sighed to himself. He felt like a gold prospector standing up to his waist in the river, sieve in hand. After all, he thought, she had to find something to fill her five-hundred-page bestsellers.
You can't judge a book by its cover.
The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.