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Thread: William Shakespeare

  1. #1
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    Jan 2015

    William Shakespeare

    Was there ever a greater bard and psychologist?

    Will there be eve'more

    Who but he can express the rage?

    While still the trials e're do crave

    To make all truth fit in their myth

    To force all men to fit
    .......... their shit

    And Kings now shiver outside the gates

    St. Peter he who saw their fates

    Has let this one man off his stage

    I love this man, but I do rave!

    A ditty serves to make things clearer
    About my thought which I hold nearer

    Hearken here to hear the call
    Of those who know not what the thrall
    Of witches round you, cauldron make
    Or e'en their mind why it should quake

    This is RIGHT thought = right ACTION. You should change the emphasis on the letters and words many times as you see more truth in each revision. It is also true with the later phraseology of Shake - hes - speare. That is one of seventeen different spellings of his name while he lived which have been found used in identifying him or his work.

    "To be or NOT to be, THAT is the question."

    Is there a greater question the world has ever contemplated? I chose early in life "to BE" before I even knew what a BEE meme is in the true history of mankind. It took forty or more years before I even understood why the Mormons use the BEEhive or another decade after that to see what kind of HIVE religions like them truly seek you to join. It was a symbol found in excavations of the Royal House of Mallia on Crete from the third millennium BCE. I can take it back far further now. It is the symbol of the Phoceans on the first coins ever minted in the sixth Century BCE. It was what Napoleon had taken from the grave of Childeric or Dagobert of the French monarchy called Merovingian but actually MER is SEA and "ian" is of the people/ Napoleon knew more than most about his family history and who has ruled our world. He wore these BEEs on his robe as he was made The Holy Roman Emperor but would not kneel or engage in the ritual of de-meaning himself before the cruel beasts in that EMPIRE.

    The Triune Nature of Man is the Tao plus Divine Spirit and together can become Providential especially when a true union (Yoga means union) is achieved. Thus as Victor Hugo noted in his evaluation of Shakespeare "One is drawn back again and again to the cliff over-looking the waves of the marvellous, and each time taking one step further down or towards the precipice". But when you lose yourself fully in the 'marvelous' you will find PURPOSE and that Divine Providence you are part and parcel of. We are all Gods in Training and God requires all energy to harmonize and thus another phrase for Shakespeare's Cosmogony is 'Harmony of the Spheres'. Each sphere or sephirah has much to offer the seeker.

    The tragedy of it all is this - man and his ego will not allow him to listen to the music of the spheres. Man seeks affirmation and avoids the unknown or unknowable. He rages at the 'sound and fury' and will not simply 'BE'. He chooses the stage and acts his parts as laid out by other men and the material world of hierarchy. He gives to Caesar more than what Caesar deserves and has lost his center or soul (Collective is God).

    This link addresses some lies about who authored Shakespeare. There are so many lying nobles wishing to claim him as one of theirs it makes me wonder if they know how to read his disgust with nobles.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-07-2016 at 12:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2015
    New research says it proves Shakespeare authored another book (from three lost manuscripts). If in fact, they have developed this technology as they think or say - then I would like to see it used in code-breaking before I can fully accept it. I am aware of code he and others used in their writing (Green Languages) so the great cypher master Francis Bacon might be able to get into the same style, though I do not favor the theory he authored Shakespeare.

    The money for the research came in part or all, from government agencies involved in projects including mind control so code-breaking is what they may have seen as one potential for this technology.

    "Shakespeare is such a towering literary figure that any new insight into the man, or his work, tends to generate a jolt of excitement in academic and non-academic communities of Shakespeare aficionados. Applying psychological theory and text-analyzing software, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a unique psychological profile that characterizes Shakespeare’s established works, and this profile strongly identifies Shakespeare as an author of the long-contested play Double Falsehood.

    The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

    “Research in psychology has shown that some of the core features of who a person is at their deepest level can be revealed based on how they use language. With our new study, we show that you can actually take a lot of this information and put it all together at once to understand an author like Shakespeare rather deeply,” says researcher Ryan Boyd of the University of Texas at Austin.

    This is a photo of the works of Shakespeare.The study, conducted in collaboration with James Pennebaker, also at UT-Austin, goes beyond examining authorship from the standpoint of word counts and linguistic regularities, providing a deeper exploration of an author’s psychological profile.

    “This research shows that it is indeed possible to start modeling peoples’ mental worlds in much more complete ways. We don’t need a time machine and a survey form to figure out what type of person Shakespeare was — we can determine that very accurately just based on how he wrote using methods that are objective and easy to do,” Boyd explains.

    Double Falsehood was published in 1728 by Lewis Theobald, who claimed to have based the play on three original Shakespeare manuscripts. The manuscripts have since been lost, presumably destroyed by a library fire, and authorship of the play has been hotly contested ever since. Some scholars believe that Shakespeare was the true author of Double Falsehood, while others believe that the play was actually an original work by Theobald himself that he tried to pass off as an adaptation.

    Boyd and Pennebaker realized that using psychological theory to inform analysis of the playwrights’ respective works may shed light on the authorship question. They examined 33 plays by Shakespeare, 12 by Theobald, and 9 by John Fletcher, a colleague (and sometime collaborator) of Shakespeare. The texts were stripped of extraneous information (such as publication information) and were processed using software that evaluated the works for specific features determined by the researchers.

    For example, the researchers’ software examined the playwrights’ use of function words (e.g., pronouns, articles, prepositions) and words belonging to various content categories (e.g., emotions, family, sensory perception, religion). They had the software identify themes present in each of the works to generate an overarching thematic signature for each author.

    They also examined the works to determine how “categorical” the writing was. Categorical writing tends to be heavy on nouns, articles, and prepositions, and it indicates an analytic or formal way of thinking. Research has shown that people who rate high on categorical thinking tend to be emotionally distant, applying problem-solving approaches to everyday situations. People who rate low on categorical thinking, on the other hand, tend to live in the moment and are more focused on social matters.

    By aggregating dozens of psychological features of each playwright, Boyd and Pennebaker were able to create a psychological signature for each individual. They were then able to look at the psychological signature of Double Falsehood to determine who the author was most likely to be.

    Looking at the plays as whole units, the results were clear: Every measure but one identified Shakespeare as the likely author of Double Falsehood. Theobald was identified as the best match only when it came to his use of content words, and even then only by one of the three statistical approaches the researchers used.

    When Boyd and Pennebaker broke the play down into acts and analyzed the texts across acts, they found a more nuanced picture. For the first three acts, the analyses continued to identify Shakespeare as the likely author; for the fourth and fifth acts, the measures varied between Shakespeare and Fletcher. Again, Theobald’s influence on the text appeared to be very minor.

    “Honestly, I was surprised to see such a strong signal for Shakespeare showing through in the results,” says Boyd. “Going into the research without any real background knowledge, I had just kind of assumed that it was going to be a pretty cut and dry case of a fake Shakespeare play, which would have been really interesting in and of itself.”

    By using measures that tapped into the author’s psychological profile, Boyd and Pennebaker were able to see that the author of Double Falsehood was likely sociable and fairly well educated — findings that don’t jibe with accounts of Theobald as well educated but also rigid and abrasive.

    Together, these findings clearly show that exploring the psychological dimensions of a literary work can offer even deeper insight in the process of textual analysis.

    “I’ve always held huge admiration for scholars who grapple with literature — there is a great deal of detective work that goes into figuring out who the authors really are ‘deep down,’ their motivations, their lives, and how these factors are embedded within their work,” says Boyd. “We demonstrate with our current work that an incredible amount of this information can be extracted automatically from language.”

    The research was supported by grants from the Army Research Institute (W5J9CQ12C0043) and the National Science Foundation (IIS-1344257)."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 02-25-2016 at 01:04 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2015
    There is more on the missing plays in this post which is some small attempt at humour lackluster as it may be.

    "The basic thesis of Stephen Marche’s How Shakespeare Changed Everything becomes obvious very early on (as in, it is expressed in the title). According to this fun, lyrically written and well-researched book, here are just ten of the many ways that Shakespeare changed everything:

    1. He gave us a lot of new words

    Just say some words real quick and you’ll probably say one he coined – nearly 10% of his 20,000-word vocabulary was new to his audiences. You may consider yourself quite fashionable or softhearted. You may consider this post to be lackluster. But you couldn’t consider any of those things to be those ways if Shakespeare hadn’t made up the words for you.

    2. He inspired an assassin

    On November 25, 1864, actor John Wilkes Booth starred as Marc Antony alongside his brothers, Edwin as Brutus and Junius, Jr. as Cassius, in a one-night benefit performance of Julius Caesar at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre — incidentally raising money to place a statue of Shakespeare on Central Park’s Literary Walk. Five months later, on April 14, 1865, JWB would put on a more impactful performance at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, as a real-life Brutus, assassinating the leader of a nation.

    3. He inadvertently caused a pigeon problem

    His statue in Central Park is covered in pigeon droppings, and strangely it's kind of his fault. (Yes, the same statue for which the Booth brothers’ benefit raised the funds). It's hard to believe that the veritable starling infestation of New York City came as the direct result of an innocent bird-lovin’, Bard-lovin’ pharmaceutical manufacturer named Eugene Schieffelin but, alas, ‘tis true.

    In March of 1860, Schieffelin released a mere sixty starlings into the Central Park air as a part of his effort to introduce every bird mentioned in Shakespeare to North America. Scientists estimate that the descendants of this and another small 1891 Schiefflin-released flock now number in the area of 200 million.

    4. He named a lot of babies

    Simpson, Biel and Rabbit, just to name a few. The name “Jessica” first appears in Shakespeare. The original Jessica was Shylock’s daughter in The Merchant of Venice.

    5. He cleared the path for Freud

    Shakespeare thought sexual repression was for the birds. His plays are bawdier than anything the Farrely Brothers have devised and, while his own rowdy Globe Theatre crowds ate it up (they were all drunk anyway), future generations found it necessary to censor the Bard substantially. Bell’s Shakespeare from 1773, the first collection of Shakespeare’s plays as they were performed on the English stage, contained only 2/3 of the original material.

    6. He helped us understand teen angst

    Those who want to see Romeo and Juliet as the embodiments of purity and love, like 18th-century English playwright David Garrick, are met with an imposing editorial task. Garrick’s first cut was the elimination of the character of Rosaline, the source of Romeo’s heartsickness at the play’s outset (she’s the one making his “sad hours seem long” in Act I, Scene 1) and one of many examples of the young man’s rash and impetuous teenage behavior. Apparently, people enjoyed the wishful notion of the purity and sensibility of teenage love, Garrick’s edited version of the play survived, unchanged, for over a hundred years.

    7. He invigorated Nazis and anti-Nazis alike

    While it's difficult to categorize Shakespearean politics, it's easy to find justification of one’s own prejudices and beliefs in the Shakespeare canon. Many groups and movements have sought to claim him as their own. Shortly after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, the Nazi Party issued a pamphlet entitled Shakespeare – A Germanic Writer. Three years later, during the height of Hitler's rule, there were more performances of Shakespeare’s works in Germany than the rest of the world combined.

    But those opposed to Hitler’s ideals could also find support in Shakespeare’s works, particularly in Shylock’s well-known speech from The Merchant of Venice.

    8. He raised questions about race and prejudice

    Just ask Paul Robeson - African-American actor, athlete, activist, and all-around rock star who, in 1943, played the role of Othello on Broadway. To this day, that show’s run of 296 shows is the longest ever for a Shakespeare play on Broadway.

    9. He ticked off Tolstoy

    Big time. The works of the very-bearded Russian great aside, Shakespeare’s literary influence is immeasurable. Dickens and Keats credited nobody more. Eliot claimed that the modern world can essentially be divided into two categories: those things influenced by Shakespeare and those influenced by Dante. William Faulkner, Aldous Huxley, Vladimir Nabokov, and David Foster Wallace each titled one of their works directly from a line in Shakespeare.

    But perhaps the influence Shakespeare had on Tolstoy’s writing was even more profound, since Tolstoy wrote a whole book about his disdain for the Bard. Tolstoy on Shakespeare reveals, unequivocally, that Tolstoy did not merely lack delight in Shakespeare’s work, he derived from it, “irresistible repulsion and tedium” and found the literary world’s reliance on and reference for Shakespeare to be “a great evil – as is every untruth.” Yowza.

    10. He killed a tree in Bidford

    And he did so years after his own death! Legend has it that a retired lush of a Bard stumbled under said tree – the crab variety – and slept off a night of competitive drinking with Bidford’s supposedly prolific booze hounds. Tourists tore the poor tree to shreds, taking home souvenirs of old Willy’s wild night. In the absence of any really reliable biography, we cling to legends and potentialities to help us understand anything at all about the man whose writing has helped us to understand so much.

    And he could have changed even more!

    Marche reminds readers of the tantalizing fact that there are lost Shakespeare plays – two, at least, that scholars know existed but we have never had the pleasure of reading or seeing performed. One is Love’s Labors Won, the sequel to Titus Andronicus (just kidding). Love’s Labors Won is mentioned in two different sources, one being a bookseller’s list, meaning the play was likely in print at one time.

    The other is Cardenio, which scholars assume from the title is an adaptation of scenes from Don Quixote. 18th-century editor Lewis Theobald allegedly discovered a copy of this manuscript and developed his own play, The Double Falsehood, based on the manuscript. But he never showed the manuscript to anyone and lost it in a fire — either that or he made the whole thing up. Many scholars do believe, however, that The Double Falsehood does, indeed, contain elements of a play originally crafted by Shakespeare."

  4. #4
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    Jan 2015
    Shakespeare was an alchemist or hermeticist whether you want to believe Francis Bacon was an alchemist is another matter. Rosicrucians will say he was and he certainly wanted people to believe he was. And yet, you still have teacher sources such as what I will quote referring to alchemy as "discredited' and the like. THEY know NOTHING! They pontificate proudly their ignorance and will never learn it seems. I humbly suggest when Shakespeare uses the word alchemy like his close friend Ben Jonson who write a book called The Alchemist - that he knew more about it than these buffoons. A more interesting speculation might involved what Brutus and his family knew about it.

    "At the end of Act I, Scene III, Casca is speaking to Cassius, who has just revealed his plan to convert Brutus to their scheme. Casca is in full agreement, and he comments:

    O, he sits high in all the people's hearts,
    And that which would appear offense in us,
    His countenance, like richest alchemy,
    Will change to virtue and to worthiness.

    The reference to Alchemy, or the ancient and discredited science of transmutation, touches at least two significant points.

    First: Brutus is a beloved member of society, and his involvement in any plan or idea gives it credibility. In this case, Casca is remarking that if the public is initially against their plan, their opinion will turn -- "like richest alchemy" -- when they see Brutus is involved. This interpretation is implicit in the text.

    Second: Brutus himself is not fully on board with the scheme. His opinion is actively being swayed by Cassius and others, but he does not know the full extent of the plan, nor has he agreed to be an active part of it. Casca hopes that Brutus, on having the entire plan explained, will change his own opinion -- "like richest alchemy" -- and give his blessing. This interpretation is less implicit, and must be extrapolated from context."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 02-29-2016 at 11:49 AM.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2015
    We have witnessed an enormous upheaval in science which has added to the freedoms of the Renaissance and it's bedmate Enlightenment. Shakespeare guided us through it all and continues to be relevant today. Modernism may still be struggling to find a theme with any philosophical integrating spokesman or force. There are many who aspire to be that spokesperson from many sectors of knowledge, but there has not been a hero or ascendant being despite my love for many who made heroic efforts. I think Evans wrote something before my writing efforts began in earnest which has validity to set the stage of just how difficult it will be for any person or even a school of thought to replace Wee Willy. Jung might have come close in the psychological venue but even he would agree William James was his equal or better, I think. But that was not even the area Shakespeare addressed. Was, his pen focused on the body politik, or the arts? Was he as his friend Ben Jonson eulogized - a man for all aeons?

    "A collection of Sacred Majick. from The Esoteric Library



    By A.C. Evans

    There are the comic exaggerations of what elsewhere is expressed in elegy, namely, if you like, the Hermeticism of the spirit -Samuel Beckett (1936)


    There are two ways of understanding art. There is a traditional philosophy which, as Susan Sontag (1961) has shown, is based on a mimetic theory derived from the Greeks (mainly Plato). But there is also a second way - perhaps of greater antiquity and authenticity - which defines art in terms of experience rather than imitation (mimesis) or even communication. As Sontag explains, Plato defined art in order to limit its significance. He categorized it as "an elaborate tromp l'oeil and therefore a lie" because, according to his philosophy, the world is also limited in significance being merely the transient reflection of pure 'forms' - the numinous Platonic Ideas..... Modern hermetic art attempts to return to these ancient conceptions of the arts and the artist. It attempts, through all its forms (but especially through poetry and drama) to repossess the magical powers of the imagination stultified by millenia of rationalism.


    Today the term 'hermeticism' relates to two distinct phenomena which are nevertheless linked together in deep and subtle ways. In traditional usage the term refers to a complex of esoteric mystery teachings dating from the Hellenistic period. Hans Jonas (1958) refers to "the religion of the Thrice Greatest Hermesl', the legendary author of the corpus hermeticum. This collection of scriptures contains such works as The Pimander, a gnostic cosmogeny, the Asclepius, a text which influenced the development of Renaissance aesthetic magic, and the famous Tabula Smaragdina (Emerald Table), a doctrine of nature later incorporated via Islamic sources into alchemical thought. Throughout the ages the literature of the Western Hermetic Tradition has been associated with works of cryptic obscurity and enigmatic visual images, It is this 'obscurity' which has given rise to the common use of the word 'hermetic', as in the phrase 'hermetically sealed'. Many Hermetic works - such as Bruno's De Umbris Idearum (On the Shadow's of Forms, 1582) are of great imaginative power. And many alchemical illustrations such as those contained in Trismosin's Splendor Solis (1582), or the drawings of the Rosicrucian Matthieu Mearin-e his illustrations to Maier's Atalanta Fugiens, 1618) are artworks in their own right. When considered in hindsight they can appear as antecedents of Surrealism and certain modern fantastic paintings (such as the works of Ernst- Fuchs or H.R. Giger). The works of The Netherlandish painter known as Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516) are outstanding examples of a refined late Gothic style incorporating alchemico-hermetic visions which continue to exert a fascination despite (or because of) their 'hermetic' obscurity - particularly paintings such as The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Lisbon). Boschfs paintings, which are infused with a millenarian pessimism reflect an instinctive understanding of the role of the artist (or his alter-ego, Saint Anthony) as a receiver of enigmatic visions and an explorer of the innermost recesses of the human mind. It is these qualities above all which recur with prominence in modernistic hermeticism. Just as the antithetical mimetic theory of art gained ascendancy over post-mythic culture when the hieratic gave way to rational classicism, so a new 'hermetic' school or theory of poetry emerged during the European fin-de-siecle era (~1870-1914) when the influence of the Platonic-Christian worldview (as enshrined in doctrines of Progress and Cartesian mechanisme) entered a crucial phase of decay. During this period, as in the renaissance art combined with esotericism and gave birth to a new gnosis or aesthetic renovation. There are crucial differences, however. Our modern cultural crisis is more radical because it is a post-religious crisis - a naked crisis of 'the real1 that deepens with every passing decade. Christine Brooke-Rose (1981):

    "That this century is undergoing a reality crisis has become a banality, easily and pragmatically shrugged off. Perhaps it is in fact undergoing a crisis of the imagination; a fatigue, a decadence."

    It is typical of this cultural fatigue or 'decadence' that, unlike his renaissance predecessor, our modern artist-poet no longer relies upon traditional symbols or familiar modes of discourse and signification (except to subvert them, as in some styles of 'Post-modernism'). The obscurity (hermeticism) of modern art arises, therefore not from its assimilation of certain occult theories (the doctrines of the androgyne, the idea of 'correspondences') but from a ultrapersonal subjectivity bordering in some cases upon a solipsistic despair - as for instance in certain works by Mallarme, Khnopff, Artaud and Beckett. The uninitiated reader-viewer finds modern artworks 'obscure' not (as is often asserted) because of some failure to communicate on the part of the artist but because the artist does not intend to communicate through works which are essentially private fetishes or personal sigils. Like a painting by Bosch they are often all the more effective for this very reason. Nevertheless modern art and modern occultism remain complimentary tropisms: elements of a profound shift in modern sensibility. An understanding of magical terminology and ideas can help in appreciating modern art as an art of evocation, invocation and initiation a new aesthetic gnosis - a revolutionary inner alchemy of imaginative transformation. In modern literature the term 'hermetic' has been used to identify a particular style or school of poetry. It was first popularised in establishment circles by the Italian critic Francesco Flora in 1936 when he used it in relation to the work of poets like Arturo Onofri, Guiseppe Ungaretti and other Italians such as Luzi, Gatto and Sereni. For Flora poesia ermetica was a style of subjective writing originated by the French decadents and Symbolists of the fin-de-sihcle: Rimbaud, Mallarm6 and Valery, and their precursors: Poe, Nerval and Charles Baudelaire. According to J.A. Cuddon's Dictionary of Literary Terms (1977) the characteristics of this hermetic poetry are 'obscurity', subjectivism and evocative power. It is

    "obscure difficult poetry in which language and imagery are subjective and in which the 'music' and the suggestive power of the words are as of great an importance (if not greater) as the sense."

    Cuddon also observes that this poetry often exploited "occult symbolism". There was also a simultaneous development towards hermetic obscurity in the pictorial arts during the fin-de-sihcle era. As literature moved closer to the absurd and the indeterminate, eroding the frontiers between poetry and prose and fact and fiction, transforming conventional syntax, so painting moved via Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism towards a final decomposition of meaning (Dadaism) and a total elimination of objective representation (Abstraction). This decomposition was accompanied by a plethora of schools and secessionist movements, each more outrageous and more 'modern' than the last: Decadence, Symbolism, Naturalism, Art Nouveau, Synthetism, Expressionism, Magic Realism, Futurism, Rayonism, Cubism, Orphism, Metaphysical Painting and Surrealism to name but a few. Many of the artists and writers in these movements incorporated occult ideas into their work - the painters, Gustave Moreau, Fernand Khnopff, Jean Delville and Frank Kupka, for example. But it is important to distinguish between the use of occult ideas as a theme and the conception of the artwork itself as having intrinsic magical properties."

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
    cont'd from above


    At the core of the artistic developments in the nineteenth century flowed a powerful all pervasive current of influence. Heretical, iconoclastic, radical and above all anti-classical, anti-rational, anti-mechanistic and anti-academic, this chain of development has recently been identified by critics as the "experience-of-limits" literature. (phrase originated by Julia Kristeva) [see Brooke-Rose(l981)l. Writing about one of the most notorious exponents of this strand of literature - Louis Ferdinand Celine - Erica Ostrovsky (l967) has referred to a "black current" of writing, "filled with militant pessimism and violent derision, denoting a vision that is no less sombre than its poetic strength."

    Grouped under this heading of "experience-of-limits" are a number of famous - or infamous - names: Poe, Sade, Kleist, De Quincey, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Lautreamont, Mallarme, Huysmans, Laforgue, Kafka, Nerval, Jarry, Celine, Artaud, Bataille, and the Surrealist poets, chiefly Andre Breton. Today the tradition is manifest in the works of Samuel Beckett and William S. Burroughs. The outstanding achievements of this modern tradition have been stylistic innovation and a bold exploration of the repressed, negative aspects of the human mind - regardless of consequences. Without exception each one has set out to "enlarge the limits of the human signifiable" (Brooke-Rose), creating a form of writing both idiosyncratic and often inaccessible ('hermetic'). For example Celinefs Journey to the End of Night, Beckett's How it is, Rimbaud's Season in Hell, Artaud's New Revelation of Beinq, Mallarme's Un Coup de Des, Nerval's Aurelia, Lautreamont's Maldoror and Jarry's Faustroll. In a wider context one can point to a number of experimental styles derived from the 'experience of limits' tradition: the linguistic experiments of the decadents (Laforgue, Huysmans), the 'words-in-freedom' of the Italian and Russian Futurists and the 'pure psychic automatism' of the Surrealists. The hermetic 'obscurity', and the shocking content of most of these works almost always provoked moral panic in the uninitiated reader and outright hostility from the critical establishment. Like heretics, these artist-poets became maudits or pariahs, outcasts exiled, like occultists, to the margins of cultural acceptability. Like Mallarm6 or Stefan George they only wrote for small circles of initiates but functioned, nevertheless as intercessors between society and inscrutable forces of change. If this modern hermeticism is a new form of inner alchemy, then the creative process is a procedure of purification - further, it is a form of self-initiation. The pariah-artist (maudit) of the nineteenth century was the epitome of social alienation: a nihilist aesthete isolated by the obscurity of his works, enclosed, like des Esseintes (the hero of the seminal novel A Rebours (1884) by J.K. Huysmans) in a sanctum of art, an inner retreat where psychic forces - unleashed in a mana effect by the melohypnosis of creativity - precipitate a crisis of individuation. [This idea of a secluded retreat was not just a literary fantasy. Many distinguished fin-de-siècle personalities retreated into a real-life 'thebaid', for example: W.B. Yeats in his watchtower, Strindberg in his 'Blue Tower', Fernand Khnopff in his self-designed house, Franz von Stuck in the Villa Stuck, Marcel Proust in his invalid's room.] Taken to the limit this crisis became a magical ordeal - a confrontation with the experience of psychic death .

    This is the experience common to all esoteric traditions and variously known as the Nox Profundis, the Dark Night of the Soul, or in alchemical terms, the Nigredo (Blackening).

    As C.G.Jung and others have shown, the alchemical process reflects 'archetypal' processes of psychic growth - 'individuation' or occult self-initiation. Hermetic art, while superficially referring to a cultural construct - Flora's poesia ermetica - is also grounded in the same psychic procedures. It follows that an examination of the works of a true hermetic artist like, say, Mallarme, should reveal the same 'archetypal' procedures of individuation as Jung's analysis of hermetic texts. Furthermore a wider historical perspective reveals that 'hermeticism' in various modes - gnostic or aesthetic - emerges at particular times in cultural history. The reasons for this can also be understood in terms of individuation, or initiation - collective evolution. The Hellenistic era. the Renaissance and the modern ---- - ~ - ~- - fin-de-siecle period were all epochs of profound change: epochs of cultural and social crisis. 2"

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