In 1510, he studied briefly with Johannes Trithemius, and Agrippa sent him an early draft of his masterpiece, De occulta philosophia libri tres, a kind of summa of early modern occult thought. Trithemius was guardedly approving, but suggested that Agrippa keep the work more or less secret; Agrippa chose not to publish, perhaps for this reason, but continued to revise and rethink the book for twenty years.
He was for some time in the service of Maximilian I, probably as a soldier in Italy, but devoted his time mainly to the study of the occult sciences and to problematic theological legal questions, which exposed him to various persecutions through life, usually in the mode described above: He would be privately denounced for one sort of heresy or another. He would only reply with venom considerably later. (Nauert demonstrates this pattern effectively.)
There is no evidence that Agrippa was seriously accused, much less persecuted, for his interest in or practice of magical or occult arts during his lifetime, apart from losing several positions. It is impossible of course to cite negatively, but Nauert, the best bio-bibliographical study to date, shows no indication of such persecution, and van der Poel's careful examination of the various attacks suggest that they were founded on quite other theological grounds.
It is important to mention that, according to some scholarship, "As early as 1525 and again as late as 1533 (two years before his death) Agrippa clearly and unequivocally rejected magic in its totality, from its sources in imagined antiquity to contemporary practice." Some aspects remain unclear, but there are those who believe it was sincere (not out of fear, as a parody, or otherwise). Recent scholarship (see Further Reading below, in Lehrich, Nauert, and van der Poel) generally agrees that this rejection or repudiation of magic is not what it seems: Agrippa never rejected magic in its totality, but he did retract his early manuscript of the Occult Philosophy -- to be replaced by the later form.
He said: "Nothing is concealed from the wise and sensible, while the unbelieving and unworthy cannot learn the secrets." He emphasized: "All things which are similar and therefore connected, are drawn to each other's power." This is known as the law of resonance.
Mary Shelley mentioned Agrippa in some of her works. In her 1818 gothic novel Frankenstein, Agrippa's works were read and admired by Victor Frankenstein. In her 1833 short story "The Mortal Immortal", Agrippa is imagined as having created an elixir allowing his apprentice to survive for hundreds of years.
The novel The Fiery Angel (1908) by Valery Bryusov (on which Sergei Prokofiev's opera The Fiery Angel is based), set in the sixteenth century, features a visit paid to Agrippa by the protagonist Ruprecht who is seeking advice on the occult. In novel and opera, Agrippa is presented as being in a dangerous position with the religious authorities: he emphatically denies to Ruprecht that his research is supernatural, stating instead that it is the study of nature itself.
Agrippa is briefly mentioned in Joyce's 1916 novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as being known to the protagonist Stephen: "A phrase of Cornelius Agrippa flew through his mind".
In Václav Havel's modern rewrite of Doctor Faustus, Fistula tempts Doctor Foustka to indulge in witchcraft, noting that he has several books by occultists such as Agrippa, Nostradamus, Eliphas Levi, and Papus.
He is mentioned in Jorge Luis Borges' Labyrinths in the story the Immortal, "Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist."
A medallion accredited to Cornelius Agrippa is used by Hellboy in Mike Mignola's story "The Corpse;" it was mentioned as being effective against a vampire cat from Kyoto and proved valuable against a war-god/pig-man.
A fictional architect by the name C. Agrippa was charged to design and construct the great Temple of Agrippa which is one of the five major environments in the alchemy-themed adventure game Zork Nemesis.
Cornelius Agrippa is the name of one of the feudal lords and ladies who rule over the lands of Alyria in the text-based MUD, Materia Magica.
A spurious Fourth book of occult philosophy, sometimes called Of Magical Ceremonies, has also been attributed to him; this book first appeared in Marburg in 1559 and was certainly not by Agrippa.
(A semi-complete collection of his writings were also printed in Lyon in 1550; arguably more complete editions followed, but none is without serious textual problems.)
No proper modern edition of De vanitate presently exists.
There is nothing scarier than a giant pig man: ; Local company to shoot horror film 'Porkchop'; Razor Sharp has produced 2 feature-length movies, several shorts
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