The History of Magic. Including a Clear and Precise Exposition of its Procedures, its Rites and its Mysteries.
London: William Rider & Son, 1922. Second Edition. Hardcover. Large octavo. xxxvi + 536pp. Original gilt decorated royal blue cloth with gilt titles on spine and upper board. Top edge gilt. Frontis piece portrait, 19 b&w plates & illustrations in text. Appendix. A handsome edition of this well-known work. A broad ranging study of magic, which also touches on alchemy and other of the hermetic arts. Eliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Constant) 1810 – 1875, was of course one of the most important figures of the nineteenth century occult revival, and was claimed by Aleister Crowley as an earlier incarnation of himself. The translator of this work, A. E. Waite was clearly impressed with it, describing it as 'the most arresting, entertaining and brilliant of all studies on the subject with which I am acquainted.' (Gilbert B 32a). Waite's version was first published in 1913 - the text of this second edition is all but unchanged save for a couple of references to forthcoming publications. Corners and spine ends bruised and somewhat rubbed, cloth a little darkened and with some light shelf-wear. Two adjacent pages (366/367) show some shadowing where a previously inserted newsclipping or something similar (now long gone) has offset slightly. A considerable number of pages towards the end of the volume have light pencil ticks and lines within the text and in the margins. They are very pale and not particularly obtrusive. It would be possible to remove them, but it was be quite a long chore that would require some care. Otherwise a bright VG+ copy of this lovely edition (no dust jacket). Item #70521