The Magus. Or Celestial Intelligencer; Being a Complete System of Occult Philosophy.
London: Knight and Compton & W. Blackader for Lackington, Allen, And Co., 1801 . Second edition. Hardcover. Large Quarto. xv , 1-176, 1 - 198 pp. Original dark brown leather spine with gilt title and decorative design of the spirit Cassiel on spine, over deep maroon paper covered boards. Fresh brown endpapers. Frontispiece portrait of Barrett and 22 full-page plates and diagrams (5 of the plates are hand-colored). Barrett was a teacher of "Natural Philosophy, Natural Magic, Cabala Magic, Chemistry, the Talismanic Art, Hermetic Philosophy, Astrology, Physiognomy.." in London in the early 19th century. When compiling 'The Magus' he drew from earlier magical and alchemical writings, including those of Agrippa, van Helmont, and Porta to create this important magical synthesis. The book was first published in 1801 and went on to become one of the most influential magical treatises in the English language, and played an significant part in inspiring the nineteenth century occult revival. From a superficial viewpoint at least this second edition – published in 1875 - was an exact reprint of the First edition - it even retained the original publication date and publisher's details of the first edition, and it is frequently mistakenly identified as such. There are, however, a number of minor textual differences, and five of the plates in the reprint edition were coloured (in the First Edition it was usually – although not always – only four). In addition the reprint edition was printed on a different paper type, and has the leather spine with a gilt stamped design of the angel Cassiel. It was a book which people read, rather than simply possessed, and copies encountered are frequently rebound, and thus missing the delightful Cassiel decoration. This copy has been well read, but is still very solid. The spine is rubbed, particularly at the head and tail, and down the front hinge, with some chafed spots and the gilt-work dulled. The paper covered boards have flecks and scratches, and are rubbed at all edges, and rounded at the corners. A few tiny bookworm trails, starting at the inside front board and running through to the title-page, by stage they have dwindled to a couple of barely noticeable pin-holes. Frontis-piece and title-page a little darkened, a handful of pages show light signs of wear. Some of the plates are a little darkened or discolored at the margins. Obviously shows general signs of age and moderate use, but still a tight, clean VG or better copy of this book, and scarce thus. A large heavy book that will require additional shipping and insurance to those automatically quoted. Additional charges will be quoted - at cost - upon our receipt of your order. Item #70404