One book that I’ve never had the time to sit down in read is Claude Lecouteux’s Le Livre des Grimoires. This book has apparently gone through three editions and includes an impressive collection of all manner of magical operations, defined by topic.
As it turns out, Inner Traditions is translating and publishing a good number of Claude Lecouteux’s works. I’ve got two works right here in front of me – Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and Ghostly Processions of the Undead, and The Tradition of Household Spirits. I’ve read the first and I’m starting on the second, and I’m quite impressed with both. I wish the footnotes were slightly – and I’d like to emphasize “slightly” – more rigorous at times, to facilitate the discovery of particular sources, but I’m quite happy with both purchases, even if they’re not quite on my usual topics. You can read an interview with Lecouteux on the first book here.
Inner Traditions will be issuing his grimoires book in December as The Book of Grimoires: The Secret Grammar of Magic. Here’s some key lines from the publisher’s blurb:
Drawing on his own private collection of grimoires and magical manuscripts as well as his privileged access to the rare book archives of major European universities, Claude Lecouteux offers an extensive study of ancient books of magic and the ways the knowledge within them was kept secret for centuries through symbols, codes, secret alphabets, and Kabbalistic words… Lecouteux provides exact reproductions of secret magical alphabets, symbols, and glyphs with instructions for their use as well as an illustrated collection of annotated spells, rituals, and talismans for numerous applications including amorous magic, healing magic, and protection rites. The author also examines the folk magic that resulted when the high magic of the medieval grimoires melded with the preexisting pagan magic of ancient Europe.
I think this should make an interesting read; certainly putting as much grimoire material in print is crucial for a serious study of the topic.