Dell edition, pages 76-96; Pocket Books, pages 64-80; about 27 percent of an e-book. (Trying to do about 10 percent at a time, but the end of Part One seems like a good stopping point.)
William Butler Yeats, Page 80. From the Wikipedia biography: "He was admitted into the Golden Dawn in March 1890 and took the magical motto Daemon est Deus inversus—translated as Devil is God inverted or A demon is a god reflected."
"the host turned out to be an American," page 81. James Joyce and Ezra Pound arguably were RAW's two favorite writers.
"A shy young lady named Hilda," page 82. H.D., prominent poet Hilda Doolittle, associated with Pound's literary circle.
"Captain Fuller,"page 83 J.F.C. Fuller.
Fuller's "Treasure House," The full title is "The Treasure House of Images" by J.F.C. Fuller. It is posted here.
"In that hour National Socialism began." page 96. From the Wikipedia article on Wagner's Rienzi:
The story that Adolf Hitler was so influenced by seeing Rienzi as a young man in 1906 or 1907 that it determined his political career (and that he later told Winifred Wagner "in that hour it all began") has been comprehensively disproved. Nevertheless Hitler possessed the manuscript of the opera (which he had requested and been given as a fiftieth birthday present in 1939) and had it with him in his bunker, from which it was either stolen or lost, so that its present whereabouts are unknown. Thomas Grey comments:
In every step of Rienzi's career – from ... acclamation as leader of the Volk, through military struggle, violent suppression of mutinous factions, betrayal and ... final immolation – Hitler would doubtless have found sustenance for his fantasies.
I love the gentle malice of Pound's "Hebraic title."
Pounds comment that poetry should hit you like an April breeze (Dell pg. 83) reminds me of Joyce's idea that art should neither repel nor attract you (that he called pornographic) but should bring you to a moment of aesthetic arrest.
Also, within eyesight of my home is an intersection with a major road. In the middle of this intersection there is a dip. Many times throughout the day "rock buckets" go through this intersection at high speed (often running the red light.) For those that don't know, a rock bucket resembles an open top 18 wheeler, usually pulled by a day cab (no sleeper) truck. Well, just as I was reading the Freud/Jung argument (Dell pg. 88) and I got to the retelling in Compartment 23 where the "bang with a boom." entered the path of my eyes, BOOM went an empty rock bucket as it hit that dip in the road. It rattled the windows of my house. I laughed out loud after recovering from my moment of synchronistic arrest.
Alas, I was hoping for a "boom" when I read that section, too, and got nothing!
In those instances, one must make one's own "boom."
p.83. “ Lola whose accent seemed Australian…” suggests Laylah, an Australian and one of Crowley’s main squeezes, also a primary subject of a favorite book of mine, The "Book of Lies." This book, among other things, serves as a sex magick operator’s manual so it seems fitting that Lola, or the thought of her, stirs up Babcock’s sexual desires.
p.83 Fuller’s Treasure House of Images appears, another favorite of mine though I didn’t know about it last time through Masks. Picked it up in San Francisco when there to work with Bill Laswell’s band Praxis. I’d forgotten RAW put it in Masks.
Treasure House bases itself on Crowley’s magick and imagery. He edited and first published it in The Equinox. I remember that he praised it highly and might even have called it the greatest modern poem as Lola does in the book.
p.84 “ the whole poem does grow a bit wearisome after 300 stanzas” (referring to Treasure House). In fact, the poem never makes it to 300 stanzas, it has exactly 169 – a RAW misdirection?
p.94, At the bottom of the page RAW gives a specific time frame for the Hitler/Rienzi incident of June 1906 which he appears to have made up along with the whole interview of Kubizek. The year, 1906, gets immediately repeated; June is the 6th month of the year making three 6s or 666 at the top of the interview. 666 brings up Crowley as does the lines on the following page, “He said he had received a mandate from Higher Powers … and would devote his whole life to a mission ordinary humans could not understand.” Connecting Crowley with Hitler recalls AC’s sinster, evil reputation as “the most evil man in the world” as newspaper headlines put it, a reputation later shared by Hitler. The technique of looking at a subject(AC’s magick p.83 -84) from a brightest pov then soon after from an equally dark pov ( similarity with Hitler p.94-95) also turns up in Pynchon’s “Against the Day.”
"aesthetic arrest" - I like this term a lot!
Oz - Lola is also the main character in Crowley's allegory "The Wake World," a description of the HGA experience.
Thanks CrypticMusic, I'd forgotten about that.
The inclusion of Hitler at the end of Part 1 seems to me an insightful move on RAW’s part for several reasons. I’ll give another - it illustrates how the same energy that can enlighten, what he’s calling the Vril energy in this context, can also cause serious harm and damage in the wrong circumstances. In this story, the energy seems to put Hitler into a trance.
“In fact when we came out of the Opera House, he started to walk in the wrong direction . . . not toward our homes, but in the opposite direction, if you follow me”
“He was like a man possessed. He spoke with great excitement, like a patient with a high fever, verstehen sie? (do you understand?)”
In other words, the experience made him sick. The possibility of possession by malevolent(or otherwise) entities seems common knowledge in occult circles.
Whether this has any resemblance to historical accuracy seems beside the point. I suggest Wilson used this story, in part, to underscore the real dangers of the more radical brain change methods he writes about. On the other hand, with guidance and common sense, those dangers can get handled or minimalized as Babcock learns though not without difficulty.
I agree with Oz. It's very similar to what he once wrote to Rev. Ivan Stang about getting into UFO's... "always keep your sense of humor." I'm cheating ahead in the book a bit (you knew I would) and I keep this in mind constantly.
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