Jocus Severus was originally published in 1617 by Count Michael Maier and is here rendered into the English tongue from the Latin text by the remarkably able translator Darius Klein. Like his work on Giordano Bruno’s Cantus Circaeus, this is the First English Translation. In addition to the new translation, the Ouroboros Press edition of Jocus Severus distinguishes itself by employing new emblematic illustration work by Benjamin A. Vierling, who, in keeping with our publishing style, has produced fine illustrative ornaments and a fold-out plate depicting the aviary creatures of the text. These graphic elements complement the typographical details with an effect befitting a piece of fine Renaissance book art.
Michael Maier is well known in the historical milieu of alchemy due largely to his important work on alchemy and music, Atalanta Fugiens, yet his other works have remained obscure and unobtainable until now. An excellent biography of Maier can be found in the work of Hereward Tilton, The Quest for the Phoenix: Spiritual Alchemy and Rosicrucianism in the Work of Count Michael Maier (1569-1622). In the foregoing work, Tilton indicates the thrust of the Jocus Severus thus: