Western Esotericism, Literature, Art, and Consciousness
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Explores European and American esoteric traditions as reflected in literature and in art.
Focusing on how spiritual initiation takes place in Western esoteric religious, literary, and artistic traditions from antiquity to the present, Restoring Paradise provides an introduction to Western esotericism, including early modern esoteric movements like alchemy, Christian theosophy, and Rosicrucianism. The author argues that European and American literature and art often entail a written transmission of spiritual knowledge in which writing itself works to transmute consciousness, to generate, provoke, or convey spiritual awakening. He focuses on several important figures whose work has not received the attention it deserves, including American writer and Imagist poet H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) and British painter Cecil Collins, among others. While Arthur Versluis presents a new way of understanding Western esotericism in a contemporary light, above all he has crafted a book about knowing, and about how we come to know, and what "knowing" by way of literature and language actually means.
Arthur Versluis is Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University and the author of many books, including Wisdom's Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition, also published by SUNY Press. He is also the editor of the journal Esoterica.