Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle 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 mobile phone number.
A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult Paperback – December 29, 2004
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
After the initial chapter on Enlightenment Occultism, which includes Mesmer, Cagliostro, Le Comte de Saint Germain, and Jan Potocki in addition to Swedenborg and others, Lachman hits his stride with penetrating essays on E. T. A. Hoffman, Edger Allen Poe, Charles Baudelaire, and August Strindberg that shed telling light on areas of these writer's lives usually overlooked or ignored by academia.
'A Dark Muse,' which cautiously explores the questionable relationship between 'genius and madness,' also underscores the additional tragedy and suffering that comes to many of those who immerse themselves in the occult, or whose lives are immersed by it.Read more ›
The chapter on the pre- revolution Russian occult literary scene is excellent and you will find yourself jotting down titles & authors to further explore. Mr. Lachman's work is the first I can recall that provides a brief but welcome overview of the life of Gustav Meyrink. Meyrink, remains sadly neglected by the English speaking esoteric world. Again, I appreciate Lachman's effort to demonstrate that Swedenborg is the progenitor of much of the western esoteric world view. It is not without noting that D.T. Suzuki called Swedenborg, "the Buddha of the North".
Highly recommended, this is one Muse that will continue to inspire, enlighten, and provoke even after repeated readings.
In the introduction to this book, Lachman begins by defining the occult as meaning "hidden, secret, esoteric, and unknown". He notes that in the popular mind the occult is frequently associated with such strange things as Satanism, witchcraft, tabloid horoscopes, and UFOs. While it is true that these can all be considered as part of the occult, the occult itself is more elusive. Lachman also relates the occult to various ancient beliefs, mystery cults, the Kabbalah, and the Gnostic heresy. In terms of Satanism, Lachman provides evidence of ritual murder in an event which occurred in England.Read more ›
As Lachman states, "[i]t's not surprising that the poet and the mage should be linked: both use words in order to produce a desired effect" (66), and it seems that this statement serves as his thesis for the remainder of the book. Lachman speaks of Goethe, Blake, Poe, and Baudelaire, among many, many others, and dictates small (2-10 page) vignettes about their lives and their ties to the occult, as well as their contributions to occult-themed literature. Therefore, this book can be read as one unified piece, or one vignette at a time in random order as one's interest piques. Each person covered herein is grouped into the over-arching sub-sections of enlightenment occultism, romantic occultism, satanic occultism, fin de siècle occultism, or the modernist occultist. Furthermore, at the end of the text important selected texts and excerpts are included, which is a nice addition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Dark Muse is a compelling occult history told in biographies. While some of the occultists mentioned are widely known to people with an interest in this arena, others are more... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chicago Bookworm
A generally good introduction to the impact the occult has had on the arts -- especially literature -- in the modern (i.e. 18th century on) era. Read morePublished 22 months ago by DACampbell
Ha ha. I'm not sure what to say about this crazy tome. Gary Lachman used to be a rock musician, working with Iggy Pop and Blondie, before deciding on a career as an author. Read morePublished on September 7, 2013 by Ashtar Command
This was a fun but light read.
It is a history of how the 'occult' influenced writers/artists down through the centuries. It isn't particularly deep or thoughtful. Read more
While Gary Lachman's A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult tackles many of the important writers that have made these claims, it still falls a bit short of the book I wish it was. Read morePublished on June 15, 2009 by Justin Ritchie
A tour-de-force of occultism's impact on literature
Gary Lachman is the author of several books on the history of consciousness and western culture, including "Turn Off... Read more
Gary Lachman is listed as being not only the author of this anthology about eccentrics,weirdos and bogus mystics,but also a"founding member"of the group"blondie"and a guitarist... Read morePublished on February 20, 2007 by Charles H. Levenson