Do What Thou Wilt

Do What Thou Wilt

A Life of Aleister Crowley

eBook - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
An honest chronicle of the notorious life of the self-styled poet and sorcerer Aleister Crowley looks at his life as magician, mountaineer, and artist to find insights and understanding of one of the century's most flamboyant and eccentric phenomena. 12,500 first printing.

& Taylor

Chronicles the notorious life of the self-styled poet and sorcerer Aleister Crowley, looks at his experiences as a magician, mountaineer, and artist, and places him in the context of his times.

Macmillan School

Do What Thou Wilt: An exploration into the life and works of a modern mystic, occultist, poet, mountaineer, and bisexual adventurer known to his contemporaries as "The Great Beast"

Aleister Crowley was a groundbreaking poet and an iconoclastic visionary whose literary and cultural legacy extends far beyond the limits of his notoriety as a practitioner of the occult arts.

Born in 1875 to devout Christian parents, young Aleister's devotion scarcely outlived his father, who died when the boy was twelve. He reached maturity in the boarding schools and brothels of Victorian England, trained to become a world-class mountain climber, and seldom persisted with any endeavor in which he could be bested.

Like many self-styled illuminati of his class and generation, the hedonistic Crowley gravitated toward the occult. An aspiring poet and a pampered wastrel - obsessed with reconciling his quest for spiritual perfection and his inclination do exactly as he liked in the earthly realm - Crowley developed his own school of mysticism. Magick, as he called it, summoned its users to embrace the imagination and to glorify the will. Crowley often explored his spiritual yearnings through drug-saturated vision quests and rampant sexual adventurism, but at other times he embraced Eastern philosophies and sought enlightenment on ascetic sojourns into the wilderness.

This controversial individual, a frightening mixture of egomania and self-loathing, has inspired passionate - but seldom fair - assessments from historians. Lawrence Sutin, by treating Crowley as a cultural phenomenon, and not simply a sorcerer or a charlatan, convinces skeptic readers that the self-styled "Beast" remains a fascinating study in how one man devoted his life to the subversion of the dominant moral and religious values of his time.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2002
Edition: First St. Martin's Griffin edition
ISBN: 9781466875265
Branch Call Number: eBook--Adult
Characteristics: 1 online resource (viii, 483 pages) : illustrations


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Feb 09, 2016

Exhaustive rather than interpretive, Sutin has sifted through everything written by or about Crowley. It's at its strongest when digging out pithy eyewitness observations about the Beast and his boorish behaviour, especially the gulf between these shoddy human interactions and his claims to be a prophet of a new age.

The reader is left to make up their own mind about Crowley's many and highly inflated literary and mystical claims (mine is that he was Toad of Toad Hall incarnate). It's an approach that can meander at times, especially with self-aggrandizing accounts of magical operations and all those trainspotterly occult grades.


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