Friday, 5 September 2014

New Publication: Book review of Marco Pasi's "Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics" for the Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review

This afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to discover that back in the spring, one of my short writings had seen publication, completely unbeknownst to me at the time. This particular contribution to the realms of scholarship constitutes a book review of Dr. Marco Pasi's Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics (Acumen, 2014) which I undertook earlier in the year for the Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review (ASRR) an ever growing outlet for scholars specialising in the study of new religious movements. It has appeared in volume 5, number 1 of the ASRR, an edition otherwise devoted to alternative spiritual movements in Israel, which was guest edited by Israeli doctoral candidate Shai Feraro (whom I interviewed here at Albion Calling last month). 

Although my personal research interests have so far focused on many of those figures whom followed in Aleister Crowley's wake, from the early pioneers of Wicca to the experimental film-maker Kenneth Anger, I nevertheless find the self-professed "Great Beast" to be a fascinating figure in and of himself. Long derided as a dangerous and/or deluded oddity best forgotten by serious scholars, recent reassessments by academics operating within the study of Western esotericism have come to recognise that Crowley is truly deserving of further investigation, particularly given his significant influence over not only esoteric and occult currents but also the wider Western counter-culture throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Regular readers might remember that last month I announced that I had reviewed two other recent publications on Crowley for The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies: Tobias Churton's Aleister Crowley: The Biography and Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr's Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism. Almost seventy years after his death, people are talking about him in ever greater numbers, and that's something that needs exploring.

Those interested in my review of Pasi's book can find it over at the ASRR web page here. Unfortunately ASRR's publishers, Metapress Essential, do not provide access to their book reviews for free, and thus anyone wishing to read it will have to pay to download that single piece (for $30.00!) or subscribe to the journal outright. Hopefully however, many of those with such an interest will be able to gain access to this (excellent) journal through subscriptions held by university libraries that they may be affiliated with.  And if not, don't forget to recommend that your librarian gets a subscription!

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