Occult Classic

But as Dæmonomania's story turns increasingly melancholy and often bleak, it returns to the Shakespearean model—not Midsummer lyricism, but problem comedies like The Winter's Tale and Measure for Measure, with their dark sexual situations and imprisoned heroines. At the end of Dæmonomania, Pierce is preparing to visit Europe, following the trail of Bruno and Dee. If the Shakespearean model holds, Crowley's best work is before him, with Ægypt's final volume perhaps taking a cue from The Tempest, and Pierce making the jump from callow adept to magisterial Prospero.

The devil in disguise? John Crowley creates a confluence of gnosticism and sexual bondage.
photo: Beth Gwinn
The devil in disguise? John Crowley creates a confluence of gnosticism and sexual bondage.

As disturbing as it is compelling, Dæmonomania occasionally loses its way. Yet it is also a book to get utterly lost in. Like a magus, John Crowley shares his secrets generously, allowing us to believe that his book is revealing the true and glorious nature of the world, and the reader's own place within it.

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