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Illustrated Anthology of Sorcery, Magic and Alchemy

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pp. 396, nn. ill. b/n, London
data stampa: 1991
codice isbn: 7342

The author of this book, first published in French in 1929, had three precise aims.
First of all, he provides us with a unique collection of the iconography of occultism-ten plates and 366 illustrations; they are selected from the most curious, characteristic and rare pictures from manuscri pts, rare books, museums and private collections and they depict sorcery, magic, astrology, cheiromancy, cartomancy and alchemythe universe of the occulto The dates of the sources selected range from the Middle Ages to the eve of the nineteenth century. Illustrations w hich are not originaI or not evidently authentic have been strictly excluded, while those selected have been reproduced in every case from the originai. Only those who have tried to gather such illustrations know how enormous was the author's undertaking. Indeed, before he did this, no such book existed, for he was the first scholar who knew enough to do this work. Nor has there been a second book of this kind and quality. This anthology of illustrations is truly unique.

Second, the author has brought home to us, as no one else before him, that these illustrations are the best possible way to learn about and understand the occulto He constantly emphasizes the fact that graphic expression is at the heart of the occult sciences, and that the illustrations are clear, natural and indubitable in contrast to the vagueness and wordiness of most of the occult literature. More than any of the religions, he emphasizes, the occult sciences depend upon graphic, symbolic expression. Hence the primary purpose of his writing in this book is to help us understand the illustrations.

Third, the author tries to show us that there are really two worlds of the occult, not one. His volume is divided into three books. Book I is SORCERERS. This is the side of occultism which met with the persecution of the Christian churches. This has to do with devils, demons, witches, spells, philtres, witches' sabbaths, etc. Here there is extraordinarily rich illustration, thanks to the fact that the church itself sculpted devils, witches and demons everywhere on its churches and cathedrals, and the painters and

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