The Secret Ceremonies


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The Secret Ceremonies: Critical Essays on Arthur Machen edited by Mark Valentine and Timothy J. Jarvis

Trade Paperback – Hippocampus Books – Aug 2019 – 411 pages

This important critical anthology offers over 20 essays on Machen, many of them newly written for the book. Contributors discuss the full range of Machen’s writing, including his association with Decadence, his incantatory prose style, his evocative writing about London and Gwent, his interest in ritual magic, alchemy and the occult, his Celtic Christianity, and his sense of the numinous.

As well as a full account of Machen’s period of peak artistry in the Nineties, the collection also covers his neglected later work. He never lost his deep interest in folklore and popular customs, eccentric characters and curious historical episodes, and contributors show how these continued to inform his work right up until his last writings.

This volume also reprints Machen’s own rueful and amusing commentary on his books, from the hard-to-find 1923 bibliography by Henry Danielson; Arthur Rickett’s “A Yellow Creeper,” an 1895 satire on Machen’s “The Great God Pan”; Donald Sidney-Fryer’s lyrical essay on Arthur Machen and King Arthur; and Aleister Crowley’s views on the Angels of Mons and other hoaxes of the war.


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