Friday, February 05, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing A Day No.36: The Magical Revival

Whilst the Simon Necronomicon is probably the best known (not to say most notorious) Lovecraftian occult text, it was predated by Kenneth Grant’s The Magical Revival. If not the first book to interrogate the Lovecraftian milieu from an esoteric standpoint, Grant’s work offers (at least to my mind), some very creative insights into occult uses of Lovecraft’s fictive mythology. That said, Grant’s writing is at times all but impenetrable – especially if one goes into reading his work unprepared (some nominal knowledge of Aleister Crowley’s life and work is useful, if not necessary).

I discovered The Magical Revival (in the original Fredrich Muller edition) in my local library around the age of 11, practically alongside the Derleth volumes I have previously documented. I barely understood it then, but read it because it mentioned Lovecraft. That the local librarian allowed my 11 year old self to borrow a book of weird, spooky occult shit might seem a little odd; but then all the librarians in my library were hippies and this was, after all, Britain in the 1970s, when it was quite acceptable for Doctor Who to scare the shit out of children at teatime, and when the youth of the day were subjected to a barrage of public safety films involving children dying horribly on farms. And quite right too.

I eventually began collecting Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies (nine books in total) in the 1990s when Skoob Books began reissuing his older work as well as printing the final, previously unpublished volumes of the trilogies. I am fortunate in possessing a complete set, including the extremely rare final two volumes. Fortunately, Starfire Publishing are current republishing the trilogies in their entirety. The edition presented here is the Starfire printing.

All in all, I owe a significant debt to Grant, as his work proved formative in helping me develop some of the key theoretical orientations that informed my doctoral thesis which, in turn (for better or worse), led me to where I am now.

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