Dee, John. A TRUE & FAITHFUL RELATION OF WHAT PASSED FOR MANY YEERS BETWEEN DR. JOHN DEE (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. And King James Their Reignes) AND SOME SPIRITS. Glasgow/Portmeirion: Antonine Publishing/Golden Dragon Press, 1974. Reprint. Hardcover. Small folio. Facsimile of the original edition of 1659. Bound in full brown calf in Cambridge style. Five raised bands to spine with red leather label with title in gilt. Limited to 500 numbered copies, this being No. 227, and signed by both publishers by way of a bookplate to rear pastedown. (lxxxiv), 448, 46 (iv). This leather edition was issued in a cardboard slipcase. Traces of very light handling and shelf wear. A beautiful, very good+ copy of this important work.
About ten years after Dee’s death, the antiquarian Robert Cotton purchased land around Dee’s house and began digging in search of papers and artifacts. He discovered several manuscripts, mainly records of Dee’s angelic communications. Cotton’s son gave these manuscripts to the scholar Meric Casaubon, who published them in 1659, together with a long introduction critical of their author, as A True & Faithful Relation, etc. As the first public revelation of Dee’s spiritual conferences, the book was extremely popular and sold quickly. Casaubon, who believed in the reality of spirits, argued in his introduction that Dee was acting as the unwitting tool of evil spirits when he believed he was communicating with angels. This book is largely responsible for the image, prevalent for the following two and a half centuries, of Dee as a dupe and a deluded fanatic. Around the same time the True and Faithful Relation was published, members of the Rosicrucian movement claimed Dee as one of their number. There is doubt, however, that an organized Rosicrucian movement existed during Dee’s lifetime, and there is no evidence that he ever belonged to any secret fraternity. Dee’s reputation as a magician and the vivid story of his association with Edward Kelley have made him a seemingly irresistible figure to post 19th century magicians. Queen Elizabeth I used him as her court astronomer on a number of occasions not because he practiced the dark arts, but because he was a deeply religious and learned man whom she trusted.