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The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern Hardcover – 4 May 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (4 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226642011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226642017
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,552,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Present in this book are a wonderfully rich cast of characters. It is splendid to have them rescued from the past. . . . This is a fascinating study. . . . It succeeds in making its point that British occultism is a significant part of the intellectual history of modernity."--Peter Stansky "H-Albion "

About the Author

Alex Owen is professor of history and gender studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Darkened Room, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
In September 1898 two respectable Victorians met in a private house in London for the express purpose of traveling to the planets. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I have encountered that seriously examines the intellectual, political and cultural influences and mileau of the practices and persons involved in the Golden Dawn and the esoteric movements at the beginning of the 20th Century. Alex Owen approaches the subject with erudition and places these movements within their context and traces the influence on the modernist conception of the self.
Be warned...this is no pot-boiler or pseudo-new age treatise on the Golden Dawn and occult but a thorough and engaging attempt to get beneath the skin of the people involved and their occult practices...fascinating...the account of Crowley in a later chapter is good and this book hopefully should set the standard for further works in this neglected and dismissed area that is over-due for critical review and evaluation. 4 stars as it took me a while to warm up to Alex Owen's approach to the subject but if you really are interested in a critical examination of these influential esoteric movements, whether Crowley, Blavatsky or the members of the Golden Dawn and their ritual magic that involved inducing OOBE's to travel the 'astral planes' dive in!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judith Noble on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to study the history and philosophy of the occult and esoteric in the UK. IT is the best thing I have read on thoesophy, the hermetic order of the Golden Dawn and related occult movements. It demonstrates how thes organisations and people made a significantr contribution to modernist thought. Very highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Rational Spirit and the Modern 4 Jan. 2005
By Samuel E. Wagar - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An exceptionally fine piece of work. Owen's use of sources is excellent - published and unpublished accounts of magickal workings and the documents of occult orders. Her understanding of magickal subjectivity and the reflexivity of modernism is very insightful. Her argument that occultism was central to the formation of modernity is brilliant - in opposition to the usual idea that modernism was opposed to spirituality.I'd reccommend reading Joy Dixon's fine "Divine Feminine", Judith Walkowitz' "City of Dreadful Delights" and Leon Surette's "Birth of Modernism" as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating, well-written reference book 5 May 2014
By M. R. Kelly - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across this book because I am doing research on 19th-century religious and spiritual practices in conjunction with a project on Oscar Wilde. It has been a godsend for me in the way it frames the secular - religious debate of the time in a useful, innovative, and convincing way. Amazingly well researched and well written. It covers British occultism but also so much more: feminism, sexuality, spirituality, secularism. A fascinating and informative read.
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Good overview 8 Oct. 2005
By Mycroft - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fair to good overview of the people & the period, although I think Owens makes over much of her "women's rights" notions. It is well researched & footnoted. Owens could have done much more on the influence of the GD at the turn of the century.
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