Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Looking for the Audiobook Edition? Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.
Paperback: 404 pages
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company (December 19, 1974)
_The Occult Underground_ by James Webb is a fascinating account of the various underground occult movements and individuals which sprang up at the end of the nineteenth century and represented a "flight from reason". Webb explains how developments in science and rationalist thought along with a decline in traditional religious belief had left many feeling bereft. It was out of this circumstance that occult movements grew and flourished. This book thoroughly discusses various occult individuals who played a prominent role in the shaping of esoteric thought during this period.
Webb begins by discussing the various movements which arose out of spiritualism. Spiritualism which made the claim to be able to communicate with the deceased had a fascinating prehistory beginning with mesmerism (of Franz Anton Mesmer), magnetism, and the teachings of the Swedish mystic Swedenborg. Spiritualism developed in America to include such figures as the Fox sisters, who notoriously engaged in spirit rappings and other activities supposedly making contact with discarnate spirits, and Andrew Jackson Davis, an early mesmerist. An important influence on spiritualist circles is the Society for Psychical Research, developed to emphasis a scientific approach to supernatural phenomenon. Following the discussion of spiritualism, Webb turns his attention to the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 at Chicago, a World's Fair featuring representatives from the world's great religious traditions. This encounter between the various traditions gave the West a unique opportunity to imbibe the teachings and traditions of the East.Read more ›
This book mainly concentrates on various occult movements and figures in 19th century Europe. Blavatsky, Theosophy, Eliphas Levi, Gnosticism, the occult scene in Paris during that era, and apparently there were a lot of non Jews in Poland that got into the Cabbalah in the 19th century also. These are some of the main topics covered in this book although other things are covered. The author is very objective and academic so he doesn't muck it up by sticking his own biases into the mix. The drawback to that is, although there is lots of good info in Occult Underground, that it is a little bit on the dry side.
Was this review helpful to you?
... the century of Enlightenment was also the century of shadows..." Thus begins Pioneering Occult Scholar Sir James Webb's 2-volume,1000 page historical survey of the 19th and 20th centuries respectively succeeding one another in this book and its successor fittingly entitled: 'The Occult Establishment'---originally entitled as a single vast work: `THE FLIGHT FROM REASON'. The Flight From Accepted Reason to Willed Imagination, or the great Occult Difference in the survival of the fittest from the dangerous. Both texts are strong enough to stand entirely on their own as much as an enduring boxer jabbing at the ghosts of history in the mirrors of magical conjurations. Webb has become an underground legend in academic circles as well as more underground occult ones; to both scholarly historians and practitioners and dabbling dreamers he has uncovered the many hitherto unknown and un-addressed masked faces of European, American, and Russian Occult history in a way most likely never to be surpassed; but at best merely equaled for sheer verve and mind-staggering revelations throughout every page. In fact, there is a good sense of mythographic Rumors in circulation regarding his early death (1946-1980), said to have ended in madness to the effect that such was the result of his historical discoveries driving him beyond a scope the mind can deal with. But legends will always spring up around such scholarly figures who have the daring and the wisdom to seek out the truth for themselves in a way not unlike some real-life Fox Moulder without any backing but that of their own intelligence and heart, of which Webb had plenty of both. He is skeptical in a humoring way to his own astonishments as well as the reader's fancies, and writes from the p.o.v.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?