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The Dedalus Occult Reader: The Garden of Hermetic Dreams

Author: Gary Lachman

Following on from his intriguing Dedalus Book of the Occult, Lachman presents a generous anthology of literary texts inspired by the weird, the supernatural and the gothic. From Beckford's Vathek to Gustav Meyrink's The Golem, there is a successful balance of the well-known, the esoteric and the curious. Personally, I would have preferred a different example from H G Wells - "The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes" is one of his weaker stories - and the omission of H P Lovecraft and David Lindsay seems regrettable. It is, however, encouraging to see Arthur Machen getting the attention he deserves; and readers will hopefully be inspired to read the complete texts.

Stuart Kelly in Scotland on Sunday

The first item, from William Beckford's Vathek, indicates the feverish imaginings gathered in this "occult reader". It encompasses drugs, sacrifice, a genii and an Indian who becomes irresistibly arousing by transforming himself into a ball. ETA Hoffman's The Golden Flower Pot shows how this writer's fertile imagination can animate even everyday objects, as in his best-known work, The Nutcracker. But the oddest example is the most recent. From 1999, Robert Irwin's explicit account of cult sexual initiation somehow involves "The Gambols" cartoon strip from the Daily Express.

Chris Hirst in The Independent

Lachman has found in these stories such a strong linking thread that not only will you marvel that precisely the same interest in the world of hidden forms...has animated so many authors, you may even begin to think there's something in it...There is a time and a place for these stories: it is now.

Nick Lezard's Choice in The Guardian for paperback of the week

...fascinatingly offbeat stuff from Balzac, H. G. Wells, the endearingly sloppy Robert Irwin, Huysmans, and the enchantingly lurid Pole Jan Potocki.

Chris Power in The Times

This is serious stuff: a reaction against the increased scientification of human understanding and symbolic of the human spirit's resistance to a world where the inexplicable was no longer acceptable. This collection unites a beauty of phrase that characterised 19th century writing- delicacy and intent marks every paragraph.

KB in The Buzz

The eclectic choice of authors is an exemplary selection of worthy writers who are even more exciting once put side by side. Like all 'readers' this is eminently browsable but most importantly, overall, illuminating and perceptive.

Rick Jevans in The Leeds Guide

RRP: £9.99

No. of pages: 372

Publication date: 09.12.2004

ISBN numbers:
978 1 903517 32 1
978 1 909232 20 4

Dedalus World Compilation Rights