A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult

Front Cover
Basic Books, Sep 9, 2009 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 378 pages
1 Review
The occult was a crucial influence on the Renaissance, and it obsessed the popular thinkers of the day. But with the Age of Reason, occultism was sidelined; only charlatans found any use for it. Occult ideas did not disappear, however, but rather went underground. It developed into a fruitful source of inspiration for many important artists. Works of brilliance, sometimes even of genius, were produced under its influence. In A Dark Muse, Lachman discusses the Enlightenment obsession with occult politics, the Romantic explosion, the futuristic occultism of the fin de siècle, and the deep occult roots of the modernist movement. Some of the writers and thinkers featured in this hidden history of western thought and sensibility are Emanuel Swedenborg, Charles Baudelaire, J. K. Huysmans, August Strindberg, William Blake, Goethe, Madame Blavatsky, H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Malcolm Lowry.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - catfantastic - LibraryThing

A Dark Muse: a history of the occult by Gary Lachman is not an actual history of the occult. This book is comprised of a series of brief biographical sketches (about 3-5 pages each) on various ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tole_lege - LibraryThing

In theory, this book tracks the influence of "the occult" oon literature, art, science… Needless to say, that's a slightly difficult task – by nature, and by definition, "the occult" is hidden ... Read full review


A Dark Muse
Enlightenment Occultism
Romantic Occultism
Satanic Occultism
Fin de siècle Occultism
The Modernist Occultist
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Gary Lachman is the author of A Secret History of Consciousness and Turn Off Your Mind. He's written for TLS, Literary Review, Guardian, Independent, Mojo, and Bizarre, and is a regular contributor to Fortean Times. Aside from writing, Lachman has been a bass player and composer for the punk rock band Blondie, a guitarist with legendary rock ‘n' roll wild-man Iggy Pop, and the leader of his own groups The Know and Fire Escape. He lives in London.

Bibliographic information