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Andreae, Johann Valentin

Entry updated 12 February 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1586-1654) German theologian and author, whose name has also appeared as Andreä, and who was long credited with the authorship of all three early seventeenth-century texts describing the purported ancient group or Pariah Elite known as the Rosicrucians; he is now credited only with the third of them, the conspicuously fictional Chymische Hochzeit Christians Rosenkreutz ["The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz"] (1616; trans E Foxcroft as The Hermetick Romance, or the Chymical Wedding 1690; vt with much revised trans John Crowley as The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz: A Romance in Eight Days 2016) [for Christian Rosencreutz/Rosenkreutz and Rosicrucianism see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], a tale narrated by the mystic Christian Rosenkreutz, describing a seven-day journey, 150 years earlier, through an allegorical landscape, and his serving at the Chymical Wedding of an emblematic king and queen, though he does not understand the ordeals involved in this ritual, and is not transformed by them. (A decayed Freemasonical form of the Chymical Wedding topos motors the plot of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 1791 opera, Der Zauberflöte ["The Magic Flute"]). Andreae's romance makes some references to John Dee. Introducing his new edition of the novel, Crowley suggests that the tale may well be the first sf novel (see Proto SF), arguing that "the science that [it] builds on is late Renaissance alchemy," a discipline that "supposed that there were common qualities that ran through the universe, able to be discerned...." In terms of its complex narrative register, the tale might also be described as a ludic fiction (see Johan Huizinga) for its combination of burlesque, Satire and dead-pan elevatedness.

Andreae is also of interest for his Utopia, Reipublicae Christianopolitanae Descriptio ["Description of the Republic of Christianopolis"] (1619; trans Felix Emil Held as Christianopolis in Johann Valentin Andreae's Christianopolis: An Ideal State of the Seventeenth Century 1914), a text advocating and describing an ideal state based on the central importance of science and philosophy (then not severed from one another), and on the necessity of a proper educational structure for the gaining of Christian wisdom. The tale is set on the Island of Caphar Salama, which is dominated by a single geometrically square City with a great circular temple at its heart. The 400 inhabitants of the city are housed in identical apartments, with running water and sewage disposal. Arts and sciences flourish in their allotted places. Everyone works; no one profits. Rosicrucians are banned. The work's resemblance to Sir Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (published 1626) suggests – on an assumption that Andreae would not have seen the New Atlantis in manuscript, however early it may possibly have been drafted – that Bacon' was familiar with Christianopolis. [JC]

Johann Valentin Andreae

born Herrenberg, Duchy of Württemberg [now Germany]: 17 August 1586

died Stuttgart, Duchy of Württemberg [now Germany]: 27 June 1654

works (selected)


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