With publication date set to December 24, 2014, this massive volume was a nice Christmas present for scholars of esotericism. Edited by Christopher Partridge and published on Routledge, The Occult World is a reference work for esotericism and the occult that should be useful to students as well as scholars and other readers interested in the topic. It consists of 73 chapters that are arranged both according to historical periods and thematic considerations, with a clear prevalence of modern and contemporary material.
One of the admirable feats of this volume is that it connects works by historians of esotericism, both well-established and younger ones, with expertise from other disciplines that have been working on very similar material – including from sociology, literature, media, cultural studies, and art history. It is thus a nice addition to existing reference works like the two-volume Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism – filling in some of the blanks and building some new bridges, although it by no means supersedes the Dictionary in terms of comprehensiveness or erudition.
The largely thematic division of Occult World along with a keen eye for engaging subjects on the part of the editor (there is, for example, an entire section on popular culture) is however going to make this book very accessible, helpful and easy to use in a classroom setting.
Myself I have contributed four chapters to this volume, on “The Society for Psychical Research”, “Contemporary Ritual Magic”, “Science and the Occult”, and “Intermediary Beings”. It is entirely possible that you may find some proofs available on my Academia page. But don’t forget to also encourage your local university librarian to get this book!