Eliphas Lévi

Authored by: Christopher McIntosh

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch17

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Abstract

Eliphas Lévi (1810–75), whose real name was Alphonse-Louis Constant, lived a remarkably many-faceted life. At various stages he was a would-be priest, a revolutionary socialist, a utopian visionary, an artist, an actor, a poet and, above all, the author of a number of books on magic and occultism which helped to make these subjects accessible to a much wider public than ever before and played a seminal role in the upsurge of interest in occultism in the modern world. Lévi was part of a remarkable constellation of occultists in nineteenth-century France, but his influence went far beyond his native country. Many of his ideas were admired by Madame Blavatsky and passed into Theosophy, the magicians of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were strongly influenced by him, and the English magus Aleister Crowley believed himself to be Lévi’s reincarnation. Lévi also influenced a number of writers and poets, including Joris-Karl Huysmans, Charles Baudelaire and W.B. Yeats.

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