Alan (Rather Alain) De Lisle
Alan (rather Alain) De L'isle
(Alanus de Insulis), so called because he was a native of Ryssel, in Flanders, now Lille (L'Isle, Insuloe) in France, or it was the name of his family. He obtained the name of "the Universal Doctor," being equally well skilled in theology, philosophy, and poetry. It is said that a great part of his life was spent in England. The opinion that he was the same as Alan of Flanders (q.v.) is now generally rejected. He was born in 1114, and died about 1203. Having been appointed to the episcopal see of Auxerre or Canterbury (the place is as uncertain as the fact), he soon resigned his functions in order to retire to the monastery of Citeaux, where he seems to have devoted himself to alchemy. Of his alchemical labors, we only know his aphorism (dicta) on the philosopher's stone. Alan calls the amalgam resulting from the union of gold or of silver with mercury the "solution of philosophers" (solutio philosophorum), and adds that great advantages may be derived therefrom, His works are,
1. Doctrinale ilinus, or the book of parables (Gons. 1491, 4to);
2. Doctrinale Minus Alterum, or Liber Sententiarum et Dictorum Memorabilium (Paris, 1492, 4to);
3. Elucidatio supra Cantica Canticorum (Paris, 1540);
4. Lib. de Planctu Nature, on the vices of the age and their remedy;
5. Anticlaudianus, sive, de officio viri in omnibus virtutibus perfecti: libri 9 (Basle, 1536, 8vo; Ant. 1621): this work is also called the "Encyclopedia," from its professing to contain every thing divine and human which man ought to meditate upon and admire;
6. De arte seu articulis Catholicae fidei (published by Masson, Paris, 1612, 8vo);
7. Alani Magni de Insulis explanationum in prophetiam Merlini Ambrosii, Britanni, libri 7 (Francfort, 1607 8vo);
8. Liber poenitentialis, dedicated to Henry de Sully, archbishop of Bourges.
Several other works of Alan are found in manuscript in the libraries of France and England. Another work of his on morals has been discovered during the present century at Avranches (see Ravaisson, Rapport sur les Bibliotheques de Il' uest de la France, Paris, 1841, p. 157). The work Opus Quadripartitum de fide Catholica contra Valdenses, Albigenses et alios hujus temporis hereticos, which was formerly enumerated among his works, is probably not from him, but from Alan de Podio (q.v.). — Cave, Hist. Lit. ann. 1151; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 13, pt. 2, ch. 2.