Friday, 23 May 2014

New Publication: Book review of Peter Levenda's "The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic" in Beyond Borderlands

Unbeknownst to me, a book review that I authored several months ago at the request of B.D. Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Borderlands: A Critical Journal of the Weird, Paranormal & Occult, had been published online over at the journal's website back in March. Having just discovered this, I can now advertise the review here - although perhaps it isn't quite as new as the title of this post suggests! 

The Beyond Borderlands logo.
The review itself is of a non-academic book, The Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic, published by the Ibis Press back in 2013. Authored by the well known esotericist Peter Levenda, it explores the work of Grant, one of the primary figures within the history of the Thelemite religion. As those who are aware of my published ouevre will be aware, I have a keen interest in contemporary Paganism, a broad movement of new religious movements which self-consciously adopt elements of pre-Christian belief systems to suit the spiritual needs of the present-day. I would argue that the religion of Thelema, founded by Aleister Crowley in 1904, is one such of these religions, as it makes heavy use of deities adopted from the pantheons of ancient Egypt and (to a lesser extent) Greece in its theology. Thus, this particular review fits within my broader research interests.

Beyond Borderlands is an interesting new venture that seeks to bring together academic, practitioner, and artistic/literary approaches to occultism, the paranormal, and the "culturally weird". Thus while part of its remit includes peer-reviewed works of scholarship, it places these alongside essays by practicing occultists as well as poems and artworks that deal with these themes. How successful this will be, I don't know; I can envision the academic establishment being fairly sceptical of this approach - but I wish the team behind it all the best! I am particularly happy that it operates under an open access ethos, allowing anyone to download its articles and reviews for free; in this respect it is following in the example of the peer-reviewed journal Correspondeces: An Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism, which was launched last year. I'm pretty pleased with this review, so if it sounds like it might interest you, please be my guest to check it out: the review is available online here, or alternately, in a slightly less aesthetically pleasing PDF format, here.

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