Review; The Aleister Crowley Desk Reference

Along with the works of Frederick Hockley, Teitan Press has also released a nice selection of works aimed at the collector of Crowley.  J. Edward Cornelius’ The Aleister Crowley Desk Reference is a new addition to the line, which should be added to the library of anyone interested in Crowley, whether a neophyte or an expert.

The Reference, tripling the size of the original in The Red Flame, is a comprehensive guide to the works of Aleister Crowley by title.  Cornelius is exhaustively comprehensive in his listings, so the book contains essays, fiction, diaries, poetry, book reviews, and records of magical* workings and operations.  Those that are published have at least a partial list of appearances, and those that are unpublished (such as Crowley’s plans for a Tunisian golf course) provide information on where they are held.  Given the sometimes questionable nature of authorial attribution, Cornelius also includes works that are attributed to Crowley or that might be listed under his pseudonym, if there is any possibility that he could have been the author.  Many of them also have notes clarifying their nature, dating, or questions of authorship, among other topics.  I sought out several different works that I recalled of Crowley’s, and I was not disappointed.

I think that some readers will be disappointed that the book does not include subject listings, or genres, or listings of people mentioned as ways of finding books.  For example, finding a book review of Arthur Machen’s N requires searching under the title.  Given that any additional organizing would be such a colossal undertaking, however, I feel that what appears here is much more than adequate.

One of the quirks of Crowley’s writing is that the same piece might appear under different titles (e.g. magical* workings listed under both titles and Liber numbers) and being published in different editions.  Overall, this is not for casual readers of Crowley, who might pick up one or two books and be done.  For those who wish to explore his magical* philosophy, whether as authors, researchers, or practitioners, I’d say this book is an essential tool that should allow one to find the works of the magician much more easily.

* I get it, but I’m enough of a curmudgeon to avoid the “k” here.

Published in: on December 29, 2013 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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