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Magick and Occult



Son of Prometheus: The Life & Work of Joséphin Péladan by Sasha Chaitow

by: Watkins Books

Sasha Chaitow’s Son of Prometheus is the first scholarly study of the life and work of Joséphin Péladan that succeeds in placing it in the context of the history of Western Esotericism while also providing a clear roadmap to the entirety of Péladan’s initiatory teachings and philosophy of the esoteric power of art. Responding to multiple cultural shifts in fin-de-siècle French society, Péladan authored over a hundred novels and monographs in an attempt to bring about the spiritual regeneration of society through mythopoetic art underpinned by esoteric thought.

Best remembered for organising the short-lived, though influential Salons de la Rose et Croix in the 1890s, that provided a focal point for Symbolist art and sought to unite the arts into a revival of initiatory drama, Péladan’s enormous oeuvre of over a hundred books and several thousand articles, slipped into oblivion and has been overlooked ever since. Previous accounts highlight his eccentricity, or isolated elements of his work, but until now, none have explored the breadth of his work in its cultural context. Sasha Chaitow undertook to do this over the course of the last 12 years, and has produced a study that offers a solid biographical introduction which corrects long-standing misperceptions, followed by accessible but robust thematic presentations of the many facets of Péladan’s work, including many unpublished translated excerpts of his work. He called himself a novelist, a playwright, a philosopher, an art critic, a savant and a zelator; he was all these and more, predicting in an unpublished autobiography that one day he would be the object of detailed study. After a century of oblivion, that day has come. His work is of undoubted interest to scholars, artists, and esoteric practitioners alike. Chaitow’s approach is both interdisciplinary and reader-friendly, ensuring that Péladan’s vision for changing society through art and authentic living is accessible to all.

Illustrated by Chaitow herself, who undertook several artistic explorations of Péladan’s work alongside her research, the book features forewords by Professors Per Faxneld and Christopher McIntosh, and is endorsed by Professor Christopher Partridge.

About the author: Dr. Sasha Chaitow is a prolific lecturer, writer, and artist. One of the central foci of her research is the life and work of Josephin Péladan, one of the most important and colorful personalities of the French Occult revival. His importance for many modern esoteric movements incl. Rosicrucianism and Gnosticism cannot be underestimated – which makes the lack of available translations of Péladan’s work even more shocking. Sasha studied art, communication and English literature in Athens and after completing her Master in Western Esotericism at the University of Exeter she did her PhD on Joséphin Péladan. As a pre-eminent authority on Péladan, Sasha has been instrumental in bringing him to the greater attention of a contemporary esoteric audience.