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Occultism and Politics in Modern France
David Allen Harvey
"Well written, cogently and compellingly argued.... A valuable contribution to the field."—James Deming, Princeton Theological Seminary
"Remarkably readable, an original piece of scholarship.... Impressive for its lucid, balanced, sensible, and well-informed handling of complex issues and at times exasperatingly obscure concepts."—Jonathan Beecher, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Deserves a large readership in French intellectual history."—American Historical Review
The occult sciences have attracted followers and fascinated observers since the middle ages. Beyond Enlightenment examines the social, political, and metaphysical doctrines of Martinism, a French occultist movement and offshoot of Freemasonry that flourished from the late eighteenth century to the dawn of the twentieth century. The French Revolution and the disorder that followed it convinced Martinists that modern society was on the wrong path. For guidance they looked back not to the corrupt Old Regime but rather to a lost golden age of mankind that existed only in their imagination. The Martinists were closely engaged in the political events of their times, and rightly or wrongly, they earned a reputation for secret intrigue and ubiquitous hidden influence.
(2005) 275 pp., appendix, notes, bibliography, index
David Allen Harvey is Assistant Professor of History at the New College of Florida and is the author of Constructing Class and Nationality in Alsace, 1830–1945.
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