Author: Gary Lachman
Trade Paperback, 378 pages
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth
Publication date: 2005
Price & More Info: Click Here
Not only does the author detail the effects of the occult on the writing of
the past few centuries, he includes selections from these writings. Each
chapter ends with note to further your understanding.
The authors covered range from Swedenborg, Cagliostro and St. Germain to
Edgar Allen Poe, Aleister Crowley, and others. Not all of them have
excerpts included, of course (since it would necessitate a book at least
three times the size of this one), but the excerpts convey the tone and the
breadth of the authors.
Over three dozen poets, writers and philosophers are covered in at least
moderate degree; the influences on their life and their influences on the
lives of others are explored. Some of these individuals will be familiar to
mot well-read individuals (Poe, Maupassant, Crowley and Goethe, among
others), while others will be little known outside of narrow fields of
interest (Meyrink, Pessoa, and Malcolm Lowry come to mind). If it
accomplished nothing else, the sheer breadth of thought represented in this
book would make it a valuable addition to almost any serious student's
The author of this work is at least as surprising and the subjects he has
chosen to explore. Mr. Lachman was a founding member of the group "Blondie"
and guitarist who played with Iggy Pop. He has been published in journals
ranging from "Fortean Times" and "Bizarre" to the "Times Literary
Supplement". Such an unusual background seems to have served him very
If you think that only writers are inspired by the occult, this book will
open your eyes to the influence on painters and composers, as well as poets
and writers. And their output includes items not normally associated with
magickal or mystical thought.
On a personal level, I found this book to be a real eye-opener. I realized,
as I was reading this work, just how narrow my own exposure had been to the
products of occult influence. Certainly I had read Crowley (and recognized
the occult influence), but I had not looked at Poe or Guy de Maupassant in
that particular vein. I have never looked beyond the "mainstream" authors
and poets, and found myself grateful for the exposure to other sources.
Now, I have been inspired to expand my readings.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason