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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Arthur Hlavaty on Illuminatus!

Arthur Hlavaty, left, holding forth at Detcon in 2014.

Arthur Hlavaty's Nov. 1 posting on his blog: "40 years ago today, I finally got my hands on the final volume of the Illuminatus! trilogy and read it. Like the authors, I knew that half of it was BS, but I wasn’t sure exactly which half. One part that was true was that it programmed me in ways that weren’t obvious for months or even years, and unlike W.C. Fields and the woman who drove him to drink, I thanked the authors for it."

Arthur's blog post didn't draw any comments, but he also posted on Facebook, and some of the comments were interesting. Neil Rest (e.g., the "real Simon Moon") wrote, " I read parts 1 and 2 in Singapore and part 3 in Jerusalem." Somebody named Sam Thoth wrote, "I grabbed the first volume of The Trilogy at a bookstore in Parkersburg WV during a quick bus layover on my way back home for a long weekend my sophomore year. Finished it late that night and promptly got up early the next day and, drunk with wonder and delight, hitchhiked 40 miles each way to get the other 2 volumes asap."

Forty years ago can't be right though, because that's when I was in college, and that would make me really old. Oh, wait .....

1 comment:

Rarebit Fiend said...

I read all of the Trilogy for the first time in the Parkersburg, WV area (where I grew up). My best friend had found a tattered copy of the omnibus edition that I devoured in a week or so. It was the height of summer and my first year trying to be an occultist. Wonderful memory.

I always thought Simon Moon tended to be a heavily autobiographical figure. (And I just bothered to follow the link after writing that.)

I actually remember working on a project for my psychosynthesis teacher where I had to find an author's subpersonalities in a book. Because I was rereading Illuminatus! at the time I made the stupid decision to use that one. So I was having to tear apart what was Shea and what was Wilson (which considering that Wilson had talked about which parts were predominantly written by whom was relatively easy) along with trying to figure out the inconsistency in the character patterns. That interview helped explain quite a few nagging questions. Simon Moon, Saul Goodman, and George Dorn were all decently difficult to figure out who represented what.