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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on the Whole..., 5 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic (Monografas a) (Hardcover)
I just want to say a few, brief words about this book, which is an enjoyable and for the most part instructive read: On the whole, it's a fairly comprehensive study of the major themes in Kenneth Grant's Typhonian Trilogies, and specifically how Grant's ideas relate to Lovecraft's stories, in particular 'The Call Of Cthulhu' and 'The Dunwich Horror'. In the latter case, Levenda's analysis of the parallels between the sex-magickal act performed by Wizard Whateley and Grant's ground-breaking adoption of Kaula Tantra techniques into Thelemic praxis results in a very coherent and penetrative section of the book; in fact, by far the most lucid and valuable section of Levenda's thesis is his step-by-step exposition of Grant's revolutionary use of these techniques to explore the 'Nightside', where he concisely describes the processes involved, and explains why such techniques would be deployed in these explorations - and also how this relates to Lovecraft's concept of The Old Ones.
Less successful is the editing: Almost the entirety of Chapter 5 is a recapitulation of the preceding chapters, but it doesn't summarize so much as represent ideas already covered in previous chapters in a much less focused way, resulting in some risible statements and one or two outright contradictions. This happens in certain passages throughout the book, and especially annoying is one instance where Levenda makes a very convincing case that Cthulhu=Set and therefore=Satan, but then describes Satan as 'a human created, human-inspired boogeyman', thus carelessly undermining dozens of pages-worth of previously carefully-assembled argument. This is one example of several where the author seems to get over-excited by a nice turn-of-phrase and goes off track for a while before reigning himself back in again.
Case in point: Please ignore the remarks by James Wasserman regarding 'humour'and the Dark Lord in his otherwise reasonable Amazon review; only somebody who knows nothing about the Dark Lord would attribute an anthropocentric-style sense of humour to 'him' The fact is Levenda's attempts at a kind of 'cool guy', 'hey, dig it maaan'-style of 'humour' in his concluding chapter nearly derails the entire book it is so brimming with bathos and so utterly, overwhelmingly inappropriate! In particular, the author's portrayal of Set as some kind of anthropomorphized 'rebel without a cause/ bad dude' especially on pages 289/290 is toe-curlingly embarrassing, and not only that, it once again undermines Levenda's previous work to establish Set as an incomprehensible, otherworldly force from Outside...
In closing, just to pick up on a couple of points made by another reviewer: Not only does Levenda ignore the books the stated reviewer mentions (& thanks for mentioning me - But my name has two Ts on the end!)he also fails to mention anything to do with the Esoteric Order Of Dagon; fair enough, if he only wanted to cover Grant and not, as Levenda phrases it, 'his circle', but the plain fact is that Kenneth Grant was a member of the E.O.D (as Frater Vril or Vril Ya, I believe) for the entirety of my own membership of this group, between 1987-2010, and for all I know remained a member up till his death.
All-in-all I certainly recommend this robust and at times exciting book by Peter Levenda, which despite a few 'chicken with no head' moments is a very worthy attempt at distilling Grant, Lovecraft and the Typhonian Tradition into one volume intended for popular consumption.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good, 6 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic (Monografas a) (Hardcover)
I must confess that it was with some trepidation that I approached "The Dark Lord", having previously encountered the author's almost ludicrous "Unholy Alliance", a typically lurid pot-boiler exemplar of the Nazi-occult genre. But I was pleasantly surprised.
"The Dark Lord" is in fact very well written, quite scholarly, and largely objective. Whilst a few of the criticisms expressed by other reviewers are valid these are relatively minor in my view and, not surprisingly, often polemical. Levenda has done an excellent job of
of not merely describing (fairly) accurately the rather complex and often erratic work of Crowley and Grant but he has succeeded in providing genuine new insight into their writings and the "Typhonian Tradition". I recommend this book highly - and on the strength of it
I will seek out his treatment of the occult origins of Mormonism.
Tony Fuller
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gerald Massey would have been proud!, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Dark Lord: H.P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic (Monografas a) (Hardcover)
Gerald Massey would have been proud ... that at least 1 man with his kinda radical passion (Kenneth Grant) was homaged as he is herein; by someone with as much interest in Lovecraft & Crowley. If Necronomicons, The Mauve Zone, and similar ĉonics of Amentà 'get your goat' (by the best bits!) this is for you! Gerald Massey, Kenneth Grant, Lovecraft & The Beast 666 dominate the best shelves in my library. Whether or not they do yours, dear reader, this book should.
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