SIR KENELM DIGBY KNIGHT
NEWLY EDITED, WITH
INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND GLOSSARY, BY ANNE MACDONELL
waning of Sir Kenelm Digby's philosophic reputation his
name has not become obscure. It stands, vaguely perhaps,
but permanently, for something versatile and brilliant
and romantic. He remains a perpetual type of the hero of
romance, the double hero, in the field of action and the
realm of the spirit. Had he lived in an earlier age he
would now be a mythological personage; and even without
the looming exaggeration and glamour of myth he still
imposes. The men of to-day seem all of little stature,
and less consequence, beside the gigantic creature who
made his way with equal address and audacity in courts
and councils, laboratories and ladies' bowers.
in a seventeenth-century bookseller's advertisement, I
lighted on a reference to the curious compilation of
receipts entitled The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby
Opened, having the usual idea of him as a great
gentleman, romantic Royalist, and somewhat out-of-date
philosopher, I was enough astonished at seeing his name
attached to what seemed to me, in my ignorance, outside
even his wide fields of interest, to hunt for the book
without delay, examine its contents, and inquire as to
its authenticity. Of course I found it was not unknown.
Though the Dictionary of National Biography omits
any reference to it, and its name does not occur in Mr.
Carew Hazlitt's Old Cookery Books, Dr. Murray
quotes it in his great Dictionary, and it is mentioned
and discussed in The Life of Digby by One of his
Descendants. But Mr......................