Frances Yates

Frances A. YatesYates, Frances A.Frances Amelia YatesYates, FrancesFrancis A. YatesDame Frances YatesYates
Frances Amelia Yates, (28 November 1899 – 29 September 1981) was an English historian who focused on the study of the Renaissance.wikipedia
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Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition

In 1964 she published Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, an examination of Bruno, which came to be seen as her most significant publication.
Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition is a 1964 non-fiction book by British historian Frances A. Yates.

The Art of Memory

Her books Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), The Art of Memory (1966), and The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1972) are major works.
The Art of Memory is a 1966 non-fiction book by British historian Frances A. Yates.

John Florio

Giovanni FlorioFlorioFlorio, John (1554–1625)
She began to publish her research in scholarly journals and academic books, focusing on 16th century theatre and the life of John Florio.
Frances Yates relates the story of a lively dinner party at Whitehall Palace at which Florio translated to the assembled company, which included Sir Philip Sidney and Oxford professors, Bruno's theories about the possibility of life on other planets.

Giordano Bruno

BrunoBruno, GiordanoBruno's cosmology
Through her research into Florio, Yates had become intrigued by one of his associates, Giordano Bruno.
Historian Frances Yates argues that Bruno was deeply influenced by Arab astrology (particularly the philosophy of Averroes ), Neoplatonism, Renaissance Hermeticism, and Genesis-like legends surrounding the Egyptian god Thoth.

Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labours LostLove's Labor's LostLove’s Labour’s Lost
Yates' second book was A Study of Love's Labour's Lost, an examination of Love's Labour's Lost.
In 1935 Frances Yates asserted that the title derived from a line in John Florio's His firste Fruites (1578): "We neede not speak so much of loue, al books are ful of lou, with so many authours, that it were labour lost to speake of Loue", a source from which Shakespeare also took the untranslated Venetian proverb Venetia, Venetia/Chi non ti vede non ti pretia (LLL 4.2.92–93) ("Venice, Venice, Who does not see you cannot praise you").

Warburg Institute

The Warburg InstituteWarburgKulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg
In an academic capacity, she taught at the Warburg Institute of the University of London for many years, and also wrote a number of books on the subject of esoteric history.
Scholars associated with the Warburg Institute include Ernst Cassirer, Rudolf Wittkower, Otto Kurz, Henri Frankfort, Arnaldo Momigliano, Ernst Gombrich, Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind, Frances Yates, D. P. Walker, Michael Baxandall, Anthony Grafton, and Elizabeth McGrath.

Valois Tapestries

the eponymous tapestriesThe Valois Tapestries
Yates' fourth book, published in 1959, was The Valois Tapestries, in which she discussed the eponymous tapestries in the Uffizi in Florence, Italy.
Scholars such as Frances Yates and Jean Coural have developed nuanced theories backed by solid evidence to identify these unknown contributors, but research has yet to confirm many of these findings.


Portsmouth, EnglandCity of PortsmouthPortsmouth, Hampshire
Yates was born to a middle-class family in Portsmouth, and was largely self-educated, before attaining a BA and MA in French at University College London.
Historian Frances Yates was born in Portsmouth and is known for her work on Renaissance esotericism.


Claygate, SurreyCoopers Hill
The family subsequently moved to Claygate, Surrey, settling into a newly built house in which Yates would reside until her death.
Previous residents of Claygate include "Python" Terry Jones "Rolling Stone" Ronnie Wood, presenter/actor Michael Aspel and British historian Frances Yates (1899-1980), longtime resident, buried in the churchyard at Holy Trinity church.

1977 Silver Jubilee and Birthday Honours

1977 Silver Jubilee and Queen's Birthday Honours1977 Birthday HonoursSilver Jubilee and Birthday Honours
Yates was promoted in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1977 to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to Renaissance studies.

Western esotericism

The academic study of Western esotericism only emerged in the late twentieth-century, pioneered by scholars like Frances Yates and Antoine Faivre.

Method of loci

memory palaceMind Palaceancient system
John O'Keefe and Lynn Nadel refer to: 'the method of loci', an imaginal technique known to the ancient Greeks and Romans and described by Yates (1966) in her book The Art of Memory as well as by Luria (1969).

John Dee

Dr. John DeeDeeDr John Dee
Her final lecture was delivered at Manchester Cathedral, and was on the subject of John Dee, whom Yates was taking an increasing research interest in.
A revaluation of Dee's character and significance came in the 20th century, largely as a result of the work of the historians Charlotte Fell Smith and Dame Frances Yates.

The School of Night

School of NightSir Walter Raleigh's secret society
In 1936 Frances Yates found an unpublished essay on scholarship by the Earl of Northumberland, an associate of Raleigh and supposed member of the movement, and interpreted it as inspiring the key celibacy theme of the play.

Hugh Trevor-Roper

Trevor-Roper, HughHugh Trevor-Roper, Baron Dacre of GlantonLord Dacre
The last decade of her life saw her critics become both more numerous and more outspoken, however she gained a champion in the form of historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who positively reviewed her works and became a personal friend.
Some of the contributors were Sir Geoffrey Elton, John Clive, Arnaldo Momigliano, Frances Yates, Jeremy Catto, Robert S. Lopez, Michael Howard, David S. Katz, Dimitri Obolensky, J. H. Elliott, Richard Cobb, Walter Pagel, Hugh Lloyd-Jones, Valerie Pearl and Fernand Braudel.

Christian Kabbalah

CabbalaChristian KabbalistChristian Cabala
In 1979, Yates published The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, in which she discussed the place of the Christian Cabala during the Renaissance and its influence on Christian Neoplatonism.


RosicrucianRosicruciansRosicrucian Manifestos
Her next book, published by Routledge in 1972, was The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, in which she looked at the influence of the Rosicrucian manifestos in 16th century Europe.

Francis Bacon

Sir Francis BaconBaconLord Bacon
Hints on the "Yates thesis" were left as sketches in works of Yates herself (Francis Bacon in relation to hermeticism, and the Hartlib circle, in particular).
Frances Yates does not make the claim that Bacon was a Rosicrucian, but presents evidence that he was nevertheless involved in some of the more closed intellectual movements of his day.

English people

Frances Amelia Yates, (28 November 1899 – 29 September 1981) was an English historian who focused on the study of the Renaissance.


the RenaissanceEarly RenaissanceEuropean Renaissance
Frances Amelia Yates, (28 November 1899 – 29 September 1981) was an English historian who focused on the study of the Renaissance.

University of London

London UniversityLondonThe University of London
In an academic capacity, she taught at the Warburg Institute of the University of London for many years, and also wrote a number of books on the subject of esoteric history.


HermeticHermetismHermetic philosophy
In this book, she emphasised the role of Hermeticism in Bruno's works, and the role that magic and mysticism played in Renaissance thinking.