London: Rider and Company. . Advance Proof Copy of the First Edition. Original Wraps. First Edition. Advance uncorrected proof copy. Octavo, original red printed wrappers. 232 pp, illustrated, appendixes, bibliography, index. Contains 16 full-page plates. Minor creases, a very good copy in the original printed paper wrappers. Very Good. Item #310657
¶ Classic study of the French magician Eliphas Lévi and the occult revival in France. Its central focus is Lévi himself (1810 - 1875), would-be priest, revolutionary socialist, utopian visionary, artist, poet, and, above all, author of a number of seminal books on magic and occultism. It is largely thanks to Lévi that the Tarot is so widely used today as a divinatory method and a system of esoteric symbolism. The magicians of the Golden Dawn were strongly influenced by him, and Aleister Crowley even believed himself to be Lévi’s reincarnation. The book is not only about Lévi, but also covers the era of which he was a part and the remarkable figures who preceded and followed him—the esoteric Freemasons and Illuminati of the late eighteenth century, and later figures such as the Rosicrucian magus Joséphin Péladan, the occultist Papus (Gérard Encausse), the Counter-Pope Eugène Vintras, and the writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, whose work drew strongly on occult themes.