November 17, 2004
The Illustrated Beast: the Aleister Crowley Scrapbook
By Sandy Robertson
Publisher: Weiser Books (April 2002)
Pages: 127 - Price: $21.95
Review by Lee Prosser - email@example.com
This reviewer learned more about occultist Aleister Crowley in a few early moments of reading this fine book than he imagined possible in one sitting! This is a true, accurate guide to Aleister Crowley though an abundance of photographs with accompanying text. The foreward by Colin Wilson is excellent and serves as an insightful , logical approach to this great occultist.
Crowley's life is seen through his writings, his art work, his marriages and children, and his practice of magick. It was Crowley who gave the word "magick" to the world to separate it from the rabbit-out-of-the-hat-tricks of magic! Crowley lived a startling life of magick and was a work of magick. That Crowley was a master of outrageous behavior is a proven fact. Crowley was master of ironic wit.
An interesting aspect is how often Crowley was used as a character in novels and films. The Crowley character is seen in such books as Somerset Maugham's The Magician as the character Oliver Haddo, in Mr. R. James' Casting the Runes as Karswell, James Blish's Black Easter as Theron Ware, among many more. Crowley as a character on film is seen in such movies The Devil Rides Out starring Charles Gray as the Crowley character, and in the horror classic, Night of the Demon (1957) starring Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins with Niall McGinnis as the Crowley character named Karswell. Crowley utilized himself as a character in his novel Moonchild under the fictional character name of Simon Iff.
There is also section on Crowley and H. P. Lovecraft. Another interesting section is about Crowley in today's world, including a look at his presence in rock & roll music.
So much has now been written about Crowley since his death in 1947, that it is incredible he would have been forgotten so long until the past twenty years. For an enjoyable reading experience and a look at one of the greatest occultists to live, Sandy Robertson's book is a fine reference. This book would be a nice item to have in your local Public Library to help dispel the many myths about Crowley. Highly recommended as a reference on Aleister Crowley.
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