As you may have heard, I have resumed my work as pornosopher and I am currently writing my master’s thesis which investigates whether porn can be art. In my research I get lost very often (which kind of seems to be the purpose).
However, it is time for me to stop getting lost, because I have another paper to finish on political myth, a paper which I have tentatively titled “Mythe, meute, Europa,” which translates as “Myth, mob, Europe.”
Before I start that work, one of my most satisfying finds of the latest obsessive quest: Annie Besant’s sublime pamphlet: “Is the Bible Indictable?” (illustration).
Besant asks (in 1877, mind you!):
“Does the Bible come within the ruling of the Lord Chief Justice as to obscene literature? Most decidedly it does, and if prosecuted as an obscene book, it must necessarily be condemned, if the law is justly administered.”
I’m rereading Writing on Drugs by Sadie Plant, a book which is brilliant in its lateral connections, arguing amongst other things that the Industrial Revolution in England goes hand in hand with the legal use of opium as recreational drug.
Speaking of opium, I’ve published a photo of an oozing, exuding, secreting and leaking poppy seed head.
But that’s not what I wanted to show you.
On page 47 in Writing on Drugs is Flaubert and he is cited stating his desire to write ‘a book about nothing‘ (‘un livre sur rien’), in other words a plotless novel, an antinovel as it were.
“What strikes me as beautiful, what I would like to do, is a book about nothing, a book with no external tie, which would support itself by its internal force of style, a book which would have hardly any subject or at least where the subject would be almost invisible, if that can be so.” (Flaubert, Letters 170).
I’ve just spent a good deal of hours researching Comte de Gabalis, a quest prompted by a new release on Creation Books’ Creation Oneiros imprint and the reference I found there to occult fiction. Wikipedia has no entry on occult fiction but Googling them did bring up Gabalis.
I am not that a big a fan of occultism except when I find it represented in fiction, such as supernatural horror or le fantastique.
A recap of what I found:
The Comte De Gabalis is a 17th century grimoire (posing as a novel of ideas) by French writer Abbé N. de Montfaucon de Villars, first published anonymously in 1670. The book is dedicated to Rosicrucianis and Cabalism and based on Paracelsus’s four elementals: Gnomes, earth elementals; Undines; water elementals, Sylphs, air elementals and Salamanders, fire elementals. It is composed of five discourses given by a Count or spiritual master to the student or aspirant. The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology by the Gale Group notes that the work may be a satire of the writings of la Calprenède, a popular French writer of the 17th century.
The Alchemist by David Teniers the Younger
The most interesting aspect of The Comte De Gabalis is the sexual union of gods and mortals. I like half creatures and I like the sexual part of it. It was the work of the minor British publisher of anthropologica Robert H. Fryar who most clearly brought this link to my attention by reprinting in the late 19th century the Comte de Gabalis with its tale of the immortalization of elementals through sexual intercourse with men and supplementing the work with long citations from the recently discovered Demoniality Or Incubi and Succubi, an eighteenth-century work by Father Sinistrari on the dangers of incubi and succubi.
The Love that Dares to Speak its Name is written from the viewpoint of a Roman centurion who is graphically described having sex with Jesus after his crucifixion, and also claims that Jesus had had sex with numerous disciples, guards, and even Pontius Pilate. Its title The Love that Dares to Speak its Name was taken from a line in the poem “Two Loves” by Lord Alfred Douglas.
(notice “complete and unabridged,” meaning previously censored)
Delving more and more into the art of commemoration I find it strange that people also commemorate people’s deaths. To me the birthday is what counts. I always want to go to the source, not to the end. Just like in horoscopes, where I find it strange that it takes as basis the date of birth, rather than the date of conception.
I offer you the Corgi edition of Nabokov‘s Lolita, the novel he will always be best remembered for.