Books from the Esoteric Brat Pack

As a member of what’s been called the “brat pack” of esotericism scholars I am proud to note that a considerable number of us are appearing on the scene this year with monographs based on PhD dissertations. The brat pack presumably consists of a group of (then) students and emerging scholars who were around at the time of ESSWE 1 in 2007, and who have frequently been seen together at conferences since. While some of us have teamed up for joint gigs in the past (think The Devil’s Party or Contemporary Esotericism, and the conferences that went with both of these),  it looks like 2014 is the big year for solo work. I know of at least four titles either published or forthcoming in 2014 by (for the most part) recent PhDs working in the field of Western esotericism. There may be other publication plans I am not aware of (please leave a note!). Here’s a chronological list of the knowns.

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Satan in the academy (again)

I ended 2013 with a retrospective on some personal favourites from the wealth of publications on esotericism last year. Of course there were many omissions, some of which I’ve payed tribute to on Twitter. Julian Strube’s (German) book on Vril is notable, and has attracted some attention in the German press lately. Also from Germany, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk’s massive collected volume on Aufklärung und Esoterik: Wege in die Moderne is a milestone that will take time to digest and assess (I admit that I forgot about this one because the prohibitive price has made it inaccessible to me until now). Then in the antiquities section, there’s the English edition of Roelof van den Broek’s book on Gnosticism, Gnostic Religion in Antiquity. And still there’s much more that could’ve been mentioned (such as this milestone of a source work: Andrew Weeks’ new translation of Böhme’s Aurora).

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The biggest esotericism conference yet – ESSWE4 and the schizophrenic life of academics

A few days ago I returned from Gothenburg, Sweden, after the fourth international conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (or #ESSWE4 for those following the tagboard). It was slightly larger than the three previous conferences (in Tübingen, Strasbourg, and Szeged); more than 90 papers were presented, there were discussion panels, keynotes, and night-time events. The conference was spread out over four days, and it needed every minute of the daily 9-hour schedule.

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More books for modern heterodoxologists

Inspired by my colleague Asbjørn Dyrendal’s recent spur of book blogging (i.e. this, this and this), I will further bring to the attention three recent collective volumes on themes that should be relevant to many readers of this blog. While some are more groundbreaking than others, they are all important contributions to their fields, namely: NRM studies, Satanism studies, and the academic study of Aleister Crowley.

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Buy a book on werewolves and help Malört Förlag

The Werewolf in Swedish Folklore published by Malört Förlag (photo: Per Faxneld)

Malört Förlag (“Wormwood Publishing”) is a unique and delightful little Swedish publishing house “specializing in texts about the fantastic, the numinous and the aberrant”. Being in the trade of craft books, their editions are made to last for generations – and as if that does not already mark their releases from most books published these days, each new release also come with its own soundtrack. Thus you can read the first Swedish translation of Jacques Cazotte’s 1772 occult novel Le Diable Amoureux (The Devil in Love) while listening to tracks such as “I’m in Love With the Devil” (Tiger Lillies), “Mistress of Deceit” (Jarboe), and  “Love in the Devil’s Tongue” (Stone Breath). While Malört has so far been focusing on publications in Swedish, they do plan to expand to the English speaking market soon.

That is, if they are able to continue.

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ESSWE newsletter, Spring 2012

The ESSWE’s newsletter for Spring 2012 was sent out to the Society’s members this morning. It has already found its way online, and can be read here.  The editor, Per Faxneld, has put together a nice little overview of what is going on in the field, including a report from the three centres at Paris, Amsterdam, and Exeter. Besides this, Sasha Chaitow (of Phoenix Rising Academy) presents her PhD project on Péladan (“A Babylonian Mage in 19th Century Paris”), while Mike Zuber, who is just about to join the Amsterdam group as a PhD candidate, describes his upcoming research on Pietism and alchemy. It should be exciting stuff.

There is also a report on the second INASWE conference, that took place in Haifa, Israel, earlier this Spring. The Israeli group has rapidly become the most active local network in the ESSWE, as it has now produced two workshops/conferences in less than one year (see this post for their first event last summer)! Finally, the “scholar interviews” this time are with Kocku von Stuckrad, and yours truly. Enjoy!

Aries 11.1

Heterodoxology has aimed to establish the practice of reviewing new publications and releases in the field of esotericism, particularly notifying about current issues of the journal Aries. Aries 11.1 has been out for a couple of months already, so this comes somewhat late.

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Contemporary Esotericism – a pre-production advertisement

One of the reasons for not writing here very often this spring is that I am co-editing a major volume in my “spare time”. Last week I visited my good friend, colleague and co-editor Kennet Granholm at Stockholm University, to discuss some final issues. This weekend, we ship the manuscript off to Equinox Publishing – a full 689  pages – ending a period with much editorial work. To celebrate this, I’ll kick off some pre-production advertising of the volume, which bears the title Contemporary Esotericism.

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Esotericism, Religion and Science in Toronto – report on the IAHR (part 2)

Following up the last post, here comes a report on the esotericism panels at the IAHR in Toronto, organized by Marco Pasi. As you can read about below, they go straight into a central debate in the field of esotericism studies at the moment.

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