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Lives of the Necromancers   By: (1756-1836)

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Lives of the Necromancers, written by William Godwin, is a historical and anecdotal account that delves into the world of dark arts and magic. Embarking on a journey through the annals of time, Godwin masterfully explores the lives and stories of infamous individuals who were associated with necromancy throughout history.

The book is divided into different chapters, each focusing on a particular necromancer or a group of necromancers from various periods and regions. Godwin skillfully navigates between different eras, beginning with ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Persia, and gradually progressing to Medieval Europe and even contemporary times. Through in-depth research and meticulous attention to detail, he unearths a treasure trove of long-forgotten accounts and legends surrounding these enigmatic figures.

What makes Lives of the Necromancers particularly intriguing is Godwin’s balanced approach to his subject matter. Rather than solely presenting a sensationalized view of necromancy and its practitioners, he aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the historical contexts in which these individuals operated. Godwin diligently examines the prevailing beliefs, social structures, and political climates that shaped their lives, shedding light on the motivations behind their practices.

The author's prose is eloquent, creating a vivid and immersive experience for the reader. While sharing harrowing tales of necromantic rituals, divine interventions, and supernatural encounters, he remains cautious not to present these accounts as absolute fact. Instead, Godwin presents them as the products of their time, human actions driven by a combination of ingenuity, desperation, and the pursuit of power.

Additionally, Godwin offers valuable insights into the psychological and societal implications of necromancy. He delves deep into the motivations that led individuals to explore these forbidden arts, exploring both the allure of gaining supernatural powers and the dangers that lurked beneath such endeavors.

However, one minor drawback of Lives of the Necromancers is its occasional overreliance on written sources of dubious provenance. While aware of their unreliability, Godwin employs these sources to construct a comprehensive narrative, at times compromising the reliability of the information presented.

Nevertheless, Lives of the Necromancers is a thought-provoking and captivating read. Godwin skillfully transports the reader through different epochs, painting an intricate tapestry of occult practices over the ages. Offering a blend of historical analysis and thrilling anecdotes, this book is a fascinating exploration into the realm of necromancy, revealing the motivations, fears, and desires that shaped the lives of those who dared to delve into this dark art.

First Page:

Wendy Crockett, Carlo Traverso, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

This file was produced from images generously made available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at http://gallica.bnf.fr.

[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been numbered sequentially and moved to the end of the text.]

LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS:

OR

AN ACCOUNT OF THE MOST EMINENT PERSONS IN SUCCESSIVE AGES, WHO HAVE CLAIMED FOR THEMSELVES, OR TO WHOM HAS BEEN IMPUTED BY OTHERS,

THE

EXERCISE OF MAGICAL POWER.

BY WILLIAM GODWIN.

LONDON

Frederick J Mason, 444, West Strand

1834

PREFACE.

The main purpose of this book is to exhibit a fair delineation of the credulity of the human mind. Such an exhibition cannot fail to be productive of the most salutary lessons.

One view of the subject will teach us a useful pride in the abundance of our faculties. Without pride man is in reality of little value. It is pride that stimulates us to all our great undertakings. Without pride, and the secret persuasion of extraordinary talents, what man would take up the pen with a view to produce an important work, whether of imagination and poetry, or of profound science, or of acute and subtle reasoning and intellectual anatomy? It is pride in this sense that makes the great general and the consummate legislator, that animates us to tasks the most laborious, and causes us to shrink from no difficulty, and to be confounded and overwhelmed with no obstacle that can be interposed in our path... Continue reading book >>




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