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Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897  

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anarchistbanjo
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27/09/2012 10:43 am  

This is an excerpt from Dr. Kugel's intro to my new translation of Sorcerer's Apprentice now available at Lulu publishing. My new translation of "Synagogue of Satan" is included in the appendix of this book or it can be read online for free at:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103079020/Synagogue-of-Satan-by-Stanislaw-Przybyszewski-1900

Since 1901 Ewers had been close friends with a circle of authors in Berlin like Dehmel, Przybyszewski, Mühsam, Scheerbart and also Herwarth Walden, who at the time was under the influence of Max Dauthendey (1857-1918). Dauthendey in turn was in contact with the occultist Samuel Liddle (MacGregor) Mathers (1854-1918), the Grand Master (1897-1900) of the English/German secret society, “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” (“G.D.”) / “Hermetischer Orden der Goldenen Morgenröte” which had been founded in 1887.
Well known writers were counted among its membership such as Arthur Machen (1863-1947) and William Butler Yeats (1865-1939, Nobel Prize 1923) who succeeded Mathers as Grand Master in 1900. Even the Irishman George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) another Nobel Prize winner, was said to have belonged to the “G.D.” In connection with the “G.D.” at that time in Berlin (1901/1902) the “Orientalische Templer Orden” (“O.T.O.”) was founded. Aleister Crowley (12 October, 1872-1 December, 1947) became a member of the “G.D.” around 1898.  Around 1906 he founded an offshoot of the sect— “Astrum Argentum” (“A.A”), English “Order of the Silver Star” (“S.S.”).
On 1 June,1912 the “O.T.O.” was newly constituted in Berlin and Crowley became the “National Grand Master for Great Britain and Ireland”. The British section bore the name, “Mysteria Mystica Maxima” (“M.M.M.”). The members of all of these more or less satanic sects occupied themselves with occultism and mysticism, paid homage to a phallus cult under the title of “sex magick” and consumed drugs excessively. Crowley became the head of the “O.T.O.” by approximately the end of 1925. The first acquaintance between Ewers and Crowley appears to be at the end of 1914 in New York (according to surveillance reports by the FBI). Ewers sought to promote German translations of Crowley’s essays in Germany.
At the time that Ewers wrote this present novel, he pursued the idea of art through drug ecstasy. The life and work of Hanns Heinz Ewers was intensified through drugs, and especially influenced by hallucinogenics. He desired to bring the unconscious into conscious awareness. In “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” he placed the regression into archaic states as the highest happiness there is. It is very likely that he was in contact with the above named sects and through their influence originated the ecstatic-mystical style of this work.
[...]
In the Ewers estate is found a lecture manuscript of “The Religion of Satan”. It is — except for the introduction, copied almost word for word out of Przybyszewski’s book, “The Synagogue of Satan” .  Stanislaw Przybyszewski (1868-1927) was a well-known Polish author living in Berlin who occupied himself chiefly with the themes of sexuality, anarchy and Satanism. Karl R. H. Frick describes him together with Crowley as the “Ancestor” of modern Satanism.  In his 1897 book Przybyszewski had attempted to portray the genesis of Satanism. At the same time in1897 his anarchist novel “Satan’s Children” appeared.  Ewers wrote to Przybyszewski in 1921, whom he addressed—as earlier only with Gerhart Hauptmann —as “Very Revered Master”:
“I remember very well, that it was your book, ‘Satan’s Children’ that had made a very extraordinarily deep impression on me as a young student. I then at that time devoured anything that I could find of yours.”
Apparently Ewers became personally acquainted with Przybyszewski as he traveled through Poland with his cabaret “Ueberbrettl” at the end of 1901. At that time Przybyszewski stood at the top of the first Polish “Ueberbrettl”, the cabaret “Nadscena” in Warsaw. In his memoirs of the Berlin literary scene, Przybyszewski reports about a circle in Munich, occupied with occultism. Richard Dehmel had introduced him to it.  Przybyszewski soon became very strongly interested in “Black Magic”, which is shown by some brief studies which were collected in the brochure “The Synagogue of Satan” and were cited by Hanns Heinz Ewers as his own work, which brought him the first attention and the first higher fees.


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Michael Staley
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27/09/2012 11:03 am  

The phrase "more or less satanic" is extraordinarily sloppy. On what grounds is this phrase used? There was nothing satanic about the Golden Dawn, the O.T.O., or the A.'.A.'.


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einDoppelganger
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27/09/2012 1:01 pm  

Joe,

Very excited for those new Ewers translations and the included Przybyszewski, as well! I have had the Flowers edition until now.
I always enjoy your translations from Side Real press and Lulu.

einD


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the_real_simon_iff
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27/09/2012 4:13 pm  

93!

I totally agree here with einDoppelganger. Very looking forward to reading this...

Love=Law
Lutz


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Markus
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27/09/2012 5:27 pm  

Joe, you mention one "Karl R. H. Frick" in your blurb. Do you have any info on him, who he is, whether still alive, etc.? I know he did the intro to a number of facsimiles of alchemistic texts and wrote a huge tome on the history of esotericism, but there's nothing on him on the web.

Cheers,
Markus


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anarchistbanjo
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28/09/2012 2:39 am  

Thanks for the replies! Translation is hard work but I love it. In regards to what is Satanism and what is not, it seems one can have differing opinions and the term may be used differently. It may be used as Luciferian, as gnostic, as anti christian and even as Mike uses it. Chuckle. Perhaps reading "The Synagogue of Satan" may shed some light on this mystery...

As for Karl Frick, it appears he is a theologian that has authored several books in recent years. I will use crude English approximations:

The Illuminati
Light and Darkness
Satan and the Satanists Part 1
The Satanists Part 2
Satanism and Freemasonry Part 3

He appears quite knowledgable of the secret societies in Germany, including the Illuminati, the OTO, Rosicrucians, The Martinist Order, gnosticism and satanism. This includes much on Reuss and Engels. He might also be a high grade mason and is often cited in footnotes by Peter Konig in the German edition of the OTO phenomenon reloaded. According to Abe books one might buy Fricks books in Germany at a reasonable price ($20-$30) plus shipping and then sell them for over $1000 here in the United States! I might look into buying a few myself- thanks for the tip!

-joe


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einDoppelganger
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28/09/2012 5:58 am  

Joe,

Slightly off topic but while we have your attention... Any chance you might grace us Anglophones with a translation of "Nightwatches of Bonneventura?" For those not "in the know," it's quite similar to Maldoror mixed with a touch of Ligotti but  far more obscure.

einD


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anarchistbanjo
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28/09/2012 11:04 am  

Joe,

Slightly off topic but while we have your attention... Any chance you might grace us Anglophones with a translation of "Nightwatches of Bonneventura?" For those not "in the know," it's quite similar to Maldoror mixed with a touch of Ligotti but  far more obscure.

einD

I am always interested in finding new material to translate. I have heard of "Nightwatches" from the Chapel of the Abyss forums on Library thing but don't know much more about it. Can you tell me some more about it?

I will have my translation of Vampire by HHE done by Christmas but want to illustrate it myself so it won't be available till next spring. I also hope to have "Knight of the German Night" [Ritter im deutchen nacht] published by Christmas. There was a lot of censored material in the John Day version that was considered politically sensitive. Side Real Press is also coming out some time with my translation of "Hanns Heinz Ewers Brevier". That has been completed.

I'm in the process of experimenting with the voice typing program Dragon Naturally Speaking and hope to increase my productivity immensely quite soon. However, I just had all my top teeth pulled so that kind of sucks!

Lemuria by Karl Hans Strobl is also about halfway done and several short stories by Hanns Heinz Ewers but not quite enough for Volume II. Working two jobs tends to make very little time for hobbies such as this and there is not really any money in it. It pays its own way, but that is more than can be said for other hobbies I guess.

Prior to WWI Vienna was the culteral capital of the world and great secret societies like the Scottish Rite and John Yarker's Antient and Primitive Rite had adherents from around the world. These were based in France. It was truly a golden age of humanity and in Germany especially the cultural literature was inspired with a gnosticism that combined with Nietzchian philosophy. The human race could do anything, we had become gods. Then WWI came along, a war that never should have happened and wiped all of that away. There was a return to religion, prohibition and subservience to external authorities. Minds became infected with a moral weakness that only a few like Crowley and Ewers dared challenge.

My dream and goal is to translate more of that cultural literature because God knows there is very little of it around today! I've downloaded forty years of back issues of "Jugend" and "Simplicissimus", the weekly art and literary periodicals from Berlin in the hopes that I will find the time to translate them and exhume the spirit of those years.

So I have big dreams but little time. I hope I live long enough! In the meantime my to do list continues to grow and I welcome new suggestions that might well get placed at the top of the list if they strike a chord.

-joe


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William Thirteen
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28/09/2012 11:38 am  

Simplicissimus is always a great read!


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einDoppelganger
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28/09/2012 11:48 am  
"anarchistbanjo" wrote:
I am always interested in finding new material to translate. I have heard of "Nightwatches" from the Chapel of the Abyss forums on Library thing but don't know much more about it. Can you tell me some more about it?

I was introduced to it by Ben Waugh on the very same forum. (anyone interested in decadent lit would do well to check it out)
This link gives one of the better descriptions, IMO. It really does have a feel similar to Maldoror mixed with the cosmic nihilism of Lovecraft and Ligotti.

http://makifat.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/die-nachtwachen-des-bonaventura.html

" The Nightwatches are scattered and sometimes confusing statements on the vanity of human existence in a hostile and meaningless universe. The narrator is a foundling and former poet; in the madhouse he plays Hamlet to Ophelia, an actress who has adopted the mask as her own face, who dies in childbirth, and who he will glimpse again as a grinning corpse, snuggling with the infant in the grave. The madhouse, quite simply, is the world itself, with the inhabitants rushing about in various delusional guises, marionettes in a cosmic farce The watchman wanders the darkened, colorless streets, witnessing episodes of pathos and farce, raging against human manipulation and oppression, exemplified by the frequent appearance of marionettes in the narrative."

I will have my translation of Vampire by HHE done by Christmas but want to illustrate it myself so it won't be available till next spring. I also hope to have "Knight of the German Night" [Ritter im deutchen nacht] published by Christmas.

Thats fantastic news! I recall you posted a sample story on Chapel - something with some giants and a sleeping famiy. Terrifying!!

I'm in the process of experimenting with the voice typing program Dragon Naturally Speaking and hope to increase my productivity immensely quite soon. However, I just had all my top teeth pulled so that kind of sucks!

Ouch! Sorry to hear that!! As for Dragon, I used it on my first book and with dedication it learns your voice well. You have to keep at it though. Amazing software.

Lemuria by Karl Hans Strobl is also about halfway done and several short stories by Hanns Heinz Ewers but not quite enough for Volume II. Working two jobs tends to make very little time for hobbies such as this and there is not really any money in it. It pays its own way, but that is more than can be said for other hobbies I guess.

Isn't there a magazine Strobl published from the era? I seem to recall he was responsible for the first "horror fiction" magazine (leave it to Deutschland!)

Prior to WWI Vienna was the culteral capital of the world...There was a return to religion, prohibition and subservience to external authorities. Minds became infected with a moral weakness that only a few like Crowley and Ewers dared challenge.

Its a shame the post Weimar fascist fetishism gets all the bandwidth when there was so much more interesting life afoot in Germanic culture.

So I have big dreams but little time. I hope I live long enough! In the meantime my to do list continues to grow and I welcome new suggestions that might well get placed at the top of the list if they strike a chord.

Ahh, we hope you do as well. I think you are one of the few who are pulling these Germanic authors from relative to total obscurity. IN the case of Ewers I think you have saved his reputation from being forever painted with a brush he didn't deserve.

Speaking of Przybyszewski, its worth noting he was friends with Edvard Munch and even appears in some of his paintings. "Jealously' being one that springs to mind. I imagine Stanislaw may also have had occasion to meet with Gustav Meyrink who was, if I am not mistaken, a member of the UR group. Both would have been associated with Strindberg who corresponded with Jörg von Liebenfels, who Strindberg (unfortunately) described as a "prophetic voice." An intricate and fascinating knot to tug at, all these connections.


Jealousy by Munch

Thanks again for all your work!! I hope the new book is a success!

Cheers

einD


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anarchistbanjo
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28/09/2012 11:48 pm  

I found a copy of Nightwatches and downloaded it. Will see how it goes. The old fraktur is not a real problem. The real problem has been my poor vocabulary. This is especially true when trying to translate high end authors. Finally I don't have to look up every word! I have tried using Dragon before and could not find a use for it because my German was too poor. Now I'm doing quite a bit better and becoming more seasoned. It is amazing what is out there in the translation world. It really helps to know what I'm doing. I recently upgraded to Dragon 12 which is almost 100% accurate in trial runs so far. My first goal is getting some rough drafts because it seems everything comes together much faster after going through that initial resistance of the blank sheet of paper.

My wife is going to be gone for a week and I'm going to try getting some power surges going. Proper timing has always been pretty important to me and I can feel something coming on.

For those that are wondering about Sorcerer's, my original intention was to do a strong revision, there was only about one page of censored text in the rape scene of chapter three and about two pages of omitted text in the dialogue with Lotte in the final chapter, plus the removal of all references to bestiality between Angelo and the goat. As I went through the text making line by line comparisons the changes became too numerous to call it a revision. The entire John Day version was choppy and written as if with a heavy German accent. Now the material is much more visceral as the emotional content has been exposed and the philosophical passages made understandable. What I did with Alraune I was able to do with Sorcerer's, but perhaps to a more limited extent. However, it is the extras that make this book special. This book attempts to gather together all available information on Ewers about Satanism and his occult ideas as well as those in "Synagogue of Satan" plus my own. It weighs in at 527 pages and "Synagogue" is in 10pt type! Dr. Kugel's introductory essay is over 20 pages as well.

Ewers meant Sorcerer's to illustrate humanity's tendency to regress to primitive avatisms as a way to connect with the godhead. The supporting material is intended to supplement this goal and provide a solid grounding in dualism.

I currently don't have any plans for making "Synagogue" available in other formats or individually. That is why I've made it available online for free. I think "Synagogue" is very powerful stuff and was amazed when I read it. Lots and lots that I didn't know about the early Christian church!


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