THE SECRET OF GOLD by Madeleine Raillon


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Few Americans (of any age) will identify the Johann Frederick Bottger who introduces himself in the first person here as the scientist-discoverer of white porcelain near Meissen which would lend its name to the finest china of Europe. His story, in translation from the French, is told with considerable respect and care for the period (the early 18th century) when young Fred began as an apprentice in an apothecary shop in Berlin. There, a meeting with an alchemist encouraged him in his dream of discovering gold, which, when rumored to be true, forced him to escape -- hunted down by an avid populace. Later, he is arrested by the King of Poland and Saxony, in the hope that he will produce gold; his closest friend Wilfrid helps him to escape once, and then dies in his stead. Finally imprisoned again, he discovers not only the alternate, which in its turn will create both beauty and wealth, but learns that the Only true freedom is in art... As Frederick learns, all that glitters is not--- and this is perhaps more instructive than alluring for the younger American reader.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1965
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World