Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 2011 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 240 pages
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This classic study of the French magician Eliphas Lvi and the occult revival in France is at last available again after being out of print and highly sought after for many years. Its central focus is Lvi himself (1810-1875), would-be priest, revolutionary socialist, utopian visionary, artist, poet and, above all, author of a number of seminal books on magic and occultism. It is largely thanks to Lvi, for example, that the Tarot is so widely used today as a divinatory method and a system of esoteric symbolism. The magicians of the Golden Dawn were strongly influenced by him, and Aleister Crowley even believed himself to be Lvi's reincarnation. The book is not only about Lvi, however, but also covers the era of which he was a part and the remarkable figures who preceded and followed him – the esoteric Freemasons and Illuminati of the late 18th century, and later figures such as the Rosicrucian magus Josphin Pladan, the occultist Papus (Grard Encausse), the Counter-Pope Eugne Vintras, and the writer J.-K. Huysmans, whose work drew strongly on occult themes. These people were avatars of a set of traditions which are now seen as an important part of the western heritage and which are gaining increasing attention in the academy. Christopher McIntosh's vivid account of this richly fascinating era in the history of occultism remains as fresh and compelling as ever.
 

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Contents

List of Illustrations
4
Preface to the New Edition
7
Introduction
11
Part 1 The Age of Unreason
15
1 The Rebirth of Magic
17
2 The Occult and the Revolution
34
3 Revolutionary Cults
44
4 The Beginnings of Popular Occultism
49
11 The Pundit
124
12 The Last Years
136
An Assessment
141
Part 3 Towards the Kingdom of the Paraclete
155
14 The Heirs of Eliphas Lvi
157
15 The War of the Roses
171
16 The Magical Quest of JK Huysmans
177
17 Writers and the Occult
195

5 Magnetisers and Mediums
55
6 The Holy King
61
Part 2 Eliphas Lvi
71
7 The Early Years
73
8 The Radical
83
9 Enter Eliphas Lvi
96
10 The Magician
105
18 Satanists and antiSatanists
206
19 The Indian Summer of Occultism
219
Eliphas Lvis Descendants
225
Eliphas Lvi and Aleister Crowley
226
Select Bibliography
228
Index
233
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Christopher McIntosh is a faculty member at the Centre of the Study of Esotericism, University of Exeter, England. He is the author of The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason: Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and its Relationship to the Enlightenment, also published by SUNY Press.

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