A Study Retreat for Medievalists

Traces of Alchemy in the Literature of the High Middle Ages: An Informal Study Retreat

On the eastern Maine Coast
May 22–25, 2015

Acadia National Park - photo by Kim Carpenter / Flickr

Location: The Eagle Hill Institute, Steuben, Maine, located 30 miles east of Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park.

Host: This study retreat is hosted by Arcanum, the journal of esoteric currents during the High Middle Ages.


Moderator: Dr. Ingrid Lotze

An Open Invitation: An invitation is extended to scholars and graduate students who are curious about alchemical motifs and spiritual dimensions in the literature of the High Middle Ages and who would enjoy meeting with others to share their observations.

Format and Focus: The study retreat will have a round-table format where participants will discuss the alchemical inspiration, especially in the works of Chrétien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried von Strassburg. Discussion topics include but are not limited to 1) current research opinions, 2) the transmission of alchemy, 3) manuscripts extant in the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries, 4) the interweaving of spiritual or inner alchemy with laboratory or outer alchemy, 5) the need to dissimulate knowledge about alchemy. The goal of the discussions is to work towards a better understanding of alchemy during the High Middle Ages with the potential for participating in collaborative research.


Suggested Readings: Guests will be provided with a list of suggested excerpted readings as a practical means of providing a set of common reference points for discussion during the retreat. Discussions are expected to range widely, as needed. Guests are welcome well ahead of time to recommend additional excerpted readings that are of special interest to them.

Call for Manuscripts: The journal Arcanum welcomes submissions of manuscripts based on discussions during this study retreat.

Arrival: Guests are asked to arrive on Friday, May 22nd in time for a 6 PM reception, 7 PM dinner, and 9PM brief introduction.

Departure: Monday morning, May 25th. Extended stays are possible for those who might wish to linger after the study retreat.


Cost: There is no cost for participating in the study retreat, other than for room and board.

Room and Board: Accommodations at the Institute are $30 per night, per person, double occupancy. Meals from dinner on Friday evening through breakfast on Monday morning are $150, all inclusive, other than beverages.

Registrations and Questions: Email, or telephone 207-546-2821 Ext 4, or 718-715-2824.