Gary Lachman Lecture Series – London

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PSYCHOTIC OCCULTISM
‘Four writers at the fin de siècle’

Gary Lachman is a historical writer of esoteric movements and literature.

He has just released his ‘Dedalus Book of the Occult’. Previous writings include ‘A Secret History of Consciousness, and Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius’. A founding member of Blondie, as Gary Valentine wrote ‘New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation’. He writes for the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Fortean Times. He has spoken in London over the past year to packed audiences, and is doing this series as a result of the overwhelming response.

Read More for details of the lecture series…
By popular demand…
THE GARY LACHMAN LECTURE SERIES

PSYCHOTIC OCCULTISM
‘Four writers at the fin de siècle’

* de MAUPASSANT * STRINDBERG * MEYRINK * BELY *

Four European writers who lived near the turn of the twentieth century
-Each became obsessed with occult ideas
-Each approached the occult differently, yet…
-Each shared a strange (even fatal) fascination with aberrant behaviour, hallucinations, possession
-Each, in his way, was a devotee of Psychotic Occultism

……………………
GUY de MAUPASSANT and the Horla
5 May (Wednesday)
Guy de Maupassant, a late 19th century chronicler of French morals and manners, became obsessed with the idea of the ‘double’, a second self that threatened to obliterate his own personality. His short story “The Horla” captured his vision of a super being from another dimension, intent on colonizing our world. Maupassant eventually died from syphilis: was his vision a product of madness, or a deadly glimpse into another world?

AUGUST STRINDBERG: Alchemy and Absinthe
18 May (Tuesday)
In 1894, the Swiss playwright August Strindberg abandoned the theatre and his homeland and went to Paris. There he threw himself into alchemy and the dark work of the Parisian occult underground. While attempting to create gold – and enjoying the embrace of the Green Goddess, absinthe – Strindberg experienced a mental breakdown, documented in his autobiographical account, Inferno. Was alchemy to blame, or absinthe, or – something else?

GUSTAV MEYRINK and the Golem
2 June (Wednesday)
In 1907, Gustav Meyer, dandy, banker and fin-de-siècle bon vivant began writing the novel that would make his reputation, The Golem. A student of mysticism, as well as a successful banker, Meyer experimented with hashish, investigated occult organizations, and eventually changed his name to Meyrink. Adapting the ancient Jewish myth of the monster made of clay, Meyrink penned a tale that in many ways anticipates the fate that would erupt across Europe in the form of WWI. But is the Golem a Frankenstein-like creature, or a state of consciousness?

ANDRE BELY: Dreams and Nightmares in St. Petersburg
15 June (Tuesday)
Andre Bely is one of the major figures of literary modernism. With its sudden shifts in time and place, it’s music-like syntax and acute self-consciousness, his novel Petersburg is one of the central modernist texts. Yet Bely was a devotee of one of the most important figures in 20th century occultism, the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner. In an atmosphere of feverish, atavistic doom, Bely employed Steiner’s ideas about astral bodies, dreams and cosmic evolution to create a portrait of an hallucinatory city, teetering on the brink of revolution.

…………………………..

Evenings are held at Treadwell’s Bookshop, and consist of a lecture, followed by a round-table discussion, during which all are encourage to contribute, as in a traditional ‘salon des idees’. Cost: £24 for the series, or £7.50 per lecture (wine, soft drinks and light refreshments included). Arrive at 7.15 for a 7.30 start.

Gary Lachman is a historical writer of esoteric movements and literature.

He has just released his ‘Dedalus Book of the Occult’. Previous writings include ‘A Secret History of Consciousness, and Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius’. A founding member of Blondie, as Gary Valentine wrote ‘New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation’. He writes for the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Fortean Times. He has spoken in London over the past year to packed audiences, and is doing this series as a result of the overwhelming response.

Venue and registration:
Treadwell’s Bookshop
34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden (map on website)
http://www.treadwells-london.com
info@treadwells-london.com
0207-240 8906
Shop hours: Noon to 7pm, seven days a week

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