Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton, once the most successful novelist in the English speaking world, now unfairly neglected and even derided, was also the central figure in the underground culture of magic and the occult. With his esoteric studies he built a reputation for deep learning in the history and philosophy of this alternative tradition, as well as passing for an adept in his own right. His creative influence, especially through his occult fiction, was surprisingly far reaching.
The book sets the achievement of this nineteenth century magus into a large historical context, exploring the intellectual and other influences on him as well as movements he inspired. Some chapters discuss aspects of Bulwer’s life, while some explore people and ideas that influenced him and others those he influenced. His seminal role in several cultural movements has been largely forgotten, not least in his home country. This book offers an often unfamiliar perspective on the Victorian era and hopefully succeeds in provoking some questions about our own times.
With Bulwer as its focus, and employing a wealth of illustrations, it manages to provide a whirlwind tour of much occult and esoteric culture, from Iamblichus to Symbolist art and literature, Theosophy and modern psychedelia.