Rider Haggard and the Imperial Occult

Hermetic Discourse and Romantic Contiguity


In Rider Haggard and the Imperial Occult, Simon Magus offers the first academic monograph on the world of occult thought which lies behind and beneath the fictional writing of H. Rider Haggard. It engages with a broad scope of religious, philosophical and anthropological ideas. Many of these were involved in debates within the controversies of the Anglican Church, which occurred in the face of Darwinism, and the criticism of the Bible.

The book follows three main intellectual currents involved in the promulgation of these ideas, namely the reception of ancient Egypt, the resurgence of Romanticism and the ideas of the Theosophical Society, all couched within the context of Empire.

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Dr Simon Magus is a psychiatrist practising in London. He studied Medicine at what is now the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. He holds an MA and PhD in Western Esotericism from the University of Exeter.
 1 Methodological Reflections and Considerations
 1.1 Hermeneutics and Historicism: Appropriation
 1.2 Nachleben, Mnemohistory and Reception
 1.3 Narratology and Intertextuality
 1.4 Methodological Agnosticism and Empirico-Criticism

 2 Critical and Theoretical Framework
 2.1 The Narratives of Religious Legitimisation are as Follows:
 2.2 Intellectual Currents
 2.3 Principal Ideas.

 3 Prolegomena
 3.1 A New Trajectory
 3.2 Haggard’s Theological Discourse
 3.3 The Theological Overture to Imperial Occultism; Anglican Scholasticism: Essays and Reviews (1860) and the Anti-Essayist Responsa
 3.4 Religious Dynamics under Imperialism
 3.5 East is East? The Imperial Occult and the East-West Discourse
 3.6 Hermetic Discourse
 3.7 Of Orchids and Ostriches: Biographical Notes and Preliminary Critique
 3.8 Haggard’s Language Skills
 3.9 New Imperialism, New Journalism and New Romance
 3.10 The Fin-de-Siècle Occult Milieu
 3.11 Research Questions

The Veil of Isis: Christian Egyptosophy and Victorian Egyptology
 1 Introduction to Part 1

1 Atenism
 1 Moses and Akhenaten
 2 Amarnamania

2 Original Monotheism
 Exoteric and Esoteric Religion
 1 Wallis Budge, Christian Egyptosophist and Psychic Gramophone Needle

3 Osiride Christology and Ancient Egyptian Psychology
 1 The Passion of Osiris
 2 The Ka of Rider Haggard: Ancient Egyptian Psychology

4 Uroborus and Uraeus
 Cyclical and Linear Time

5 Mnemohistory and Metageography of Egypt
 1 Moses and the Route of the Exodus

6 An Archaeology of the Imaginal
 1 Artefactual Fictions

Isis Veiled: Romanticism and the New Romance
 1 Introduction to Part 2

7 The One God and Hidden Nature
 1 Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ.

8 The Initiates of Sais
 1 The Visions of Harmachis: Initiation, Anacalypsis and Gnosis
 2 Kataphasis
 3 Apophasis
 4 Initiatic Death and Katabasis
 5 Anacalypsis, Gnosis and Palingenesis

9 The Ayesha Mythos and the Alchemical She
 1 The Genesis of She
 2 Ayesha and Kallikrates: Old Flames Never Die?
 3 The Alchemical She
 4 Érōs and Agápē: The Swedenborgian Androgyne
 5 The Ayesha Mythos: Love, Sex and Death
 6 The Ayesha Letters

 7 (Curtain Fall for an Interval of Two Thousand Years).

10 Romance and the Providential Aesthetic
 1 Haggard’s ‘Fatalism’

11 The Sublime and the Numinous
 1 The Chiaroscuro of the Sublime
 2 Landscape and Geopiety

12 The Noetic Organ of Imagination
 1 ‘Empire of the Imagination’? On the Death of an Old Trope.
 2 The Imagination and Reason: Coleridge, Milton, and Kant
 3 A Theology of the Imagination
 4 Bulwer-Lytton, Blavatsky and Haggard: A Triangle of Art
 5 The Occult lore of Zanoni, Dawn and She: Natural Supernaturalism

Isis Unveiled: Theosophy: From Theosophia Antiqua to Religious Pluralism
 1 Introduction to Part 3

13 Graven Images
Victorian Constructions of Buddhism
 1 Doctrinal Approximations and Hybridity
 2 Patristic Theories of Soul Origin
 3 Divide et Impera? Comparison and Dialogue
 4 Buddha and Christ
 5 Haggard’s Logos Theology: Friedrich Max Müller and Religionswissenschaft

14 Egyptian Hermes in England

15 Occult Science
 1 Experiments of Youth: Spiritualism or Spiritism?
 2 Theosophical Allusions
 3 Haggard’s Reception of Theosophy
 4 Monads
 5 Devachan
 6 Mahatmas
 7 Psychometry and the Clairvoyant Imagination
 8 Reincarnation and Cyclical Ascendant Metempsychosis: The Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial
 9 Paulinism in Blavatsky and Haggard
 10 The Theosophical Reception of Haggard
 11 Contemporary Dialogues: The Aporia of Science and Religion: ‘Have We Lived on Earth before? Shall We Live on Earth Again?’

16 Reincarnation and Related Concepts
 1 Figura and Typos: Figural Phenomenal Prophecy, Pauline Typology and Hermeneutics
 2 Sympathie and Innate Affinities

17 The Cartography of the Lost World
 1 Empire of Religion: Victorian Anthropology and the Rise of Comparative Religious Studies
 2 Andrew Lang, Psycho-Folklorist
 3 uNkulunkulu and Inkosazana-y-Zulu: Haggard on Zulu Spirituality
 4 Bishop Colenso’s Mission
 5 Phoenician Zimbabwe and Biblical Ophir
 6 Haggard and Atlantis: Theosophical Esoteric Ethnology

18 The Truth of the Metaphysical Novel
 1 Bulwer-Lytton and Rider Haggard on Fiction
 2 Myth with Footnotes
 3 Biblical Narratives and the Metaphysical Novel



Appendix 1Letter to E. Coleman Rashleigh, 3 January 1920.
Appendix 2Letter to Miss Kaye – Smith, 7 November 1921.

The scope of the work facilitates its appeal to a broad readership in the fields of Religious Studies, English Literature, Victorian and Empire Studies and Anthropology, as well as Esotericism.
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